Keep Your Hands On Your Urine If You Go To LabCorp

Mike was sent to LabCorp for some routine medical tests last week, and what he found was an understaffed, overcrowded dump where patients were arguing that their urine samples were missing, or in one instance stolen while the patient watched. This could just be one badly managed lab, but the Internet is swimming in LabCorp complaints around the country that all repeat the same problems.

First, Mike’s story:

I went to a LabCorp facility in Sarasota, FL, for routine medical tests this month. LabCorp is the only lab available for my United HMO.

When I arrived there were several elderly patients arguing with confrontational LabCorp employees that they had provided urine samples while the staff insisted that they had not. One elderly man stated that he witnessed his sample being stolen by another patient there.

When my turn came, my blood was drawn and I was handed a cup and a plastic lid that looked like a paper coffee cup. It had my name written on it with pen, no number. I was told to go into a bathroom. The bathroom was filthy and there were numerous puddles and spots of urine on the floor, the counters, the sinks. There were also several rings of urine left by previous cups on the counter. It was apparent that the urine was from numerous persons.

I was not given an alcohol wipe or instructed to wipe my hands. The woman scolded me for handing her the cup and told me to leave it on the dirty counter. I told her that the bathroom was filthy and she said someone would clean it later.

I am 50 years old and have utilized the health system in several states, Mexico, Central America and South America. I have never witnessed such a bizarre situation and unsanitary conditions in a healthcare facility.

I searched Google for “labcorp complaints” and there are pages and pages of results. There is even a website called labcorpsucks.com. I guess they are not embarassed.

What is almost equally disturbing, I sent this to many government agencies. Almost all refered me to other agencies, almost all of those agencies refered me back to the agencies that refered them. I received 2 responses that indicate they could see no problems or violations. I disagree because there can be no integrity in the results due to cross contamination. Not to mention urine being stolen to pass employment screening.

Mike sent us photos, but you can probably imagine what urine stains on the floor, toilet, and counter look like. I’d probably have to put so many kitten heads on the pics that they wouldn’t be of much use anyway.

A quick search for complaints on LabCorp flushed out page after page of angry customers who say they were treated rudely, given faulty results, or charged outrageous amounts for routine tests.

At Pissed Consumer, an anonymous consumer last August said at a LabCorp lab in Glendale, AZ, the regulars bring their own folding chairs because the waiting room is always full, even though it seats 30 people. This person also says that after 3 hours of waiting, about half the people who had been sitting there since the lab opened were told to leave because they couldn’t be tested that day.

The complaints at Complaints Board tend to all be more than a year old, but they’re just as bad. “Annie” says after her HMO stopped using Quest, she was sent to a LabCorp located “in the basement of an unmarked residential apartment building on a sidestreet. As I looked around, I noticed cardboard boxes were literally being used as furniture. There was nothing around to indicate that this was a place of business. I felt like I was about to become vampire food. It was actually quite scary.”

(My favorite LabCorp complaint from ComplaintsBoard doesn’t involve urine at all, but worms. Do not read the following under any circumstance: “I had to use lab corp because that was my insured lab. My doctor sent them an obvious worm-filled sample and they didn’t even look at it, sending back that it was healthy. IT WAS FILLED WITH LONG EARTHWORM LIKE WORMS FOR GOD SAKE! My doctor agreed that she saw worms before the sample was even sent to verify the breed of parasite. “)

As far as pricing, a consumer on Ripoff Report says that in January, LabCorp tried to charge $163 for a test that was $78 six months earlier. The consumer says he called to argue the bill and was told that the price had gone up to cover inflation, but that when he said he would only pay the $78, the billing department accepted that.

As you might expect, LabCorp has a BBB rating of F, at least in New York where its corporate offices are located. (Update: I misread the BBB entry; LabCorp’s HQ is actually in North Carolina.)