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Lab FAQs

Last Updated Friday, February 20, 2009 8:40:35 PM


Our goal at El Camino Hospital's clinical laboratory is to provide you with safe and excellent patient care. The following frequently asked questions will provide information to assist you in using our clinical laboratory services.

Why do I need to register each time I visit the laboratory?

When will my doctor get my test results?

I want copies of my test results sent to my other doctors. Can this be done?

How do I get copies of my laboratory results?

Can I find out what my lab tests will cost before they are performed?

Are there any extra costs that I should be aware of pertaining to my laboratory tests?

Will my insurance cover my laboratory tests?

If I have a primary insurance carrier that will not cover any of the laboratory costs but my secondary insurance carrier will cover all costs, can El Camino Hospital bill my secondary carrier instead?

May I pay for my laboratory tests myself?


Why do I need to register each time I visit the laboratory?

Even though you may have registered before, we must ask you to register each time to avoid any billing errors caused by inaccurate or out-of-date information.

When will my doctor get my test results?

Most routine tests are done here in our laboratory and can be completed and reported to your physician  within 24-48 hours. Other, specialized tests must be sent to outside laboratories; this may lengthen the turnaround time.

I want copies of my test results sent to my other doctors. Can this be done?

Yes, please ask our laboratory staff to arrange this.

How do I get copies of my laboratory results?

The best way to get your test results is from your ordering physician. Your doctor will be able to explain the results and how they relate to your overall medical situation. Normally, the laboratory will give outpatient test results directly to the patient only with written authorization from the ordering physician. However, you may also obtain a copy of your lab results by completing the Release of Information process. Under most circumstances, we are then able to provide copies of stored results to you within 1–2 days. Please ask us about this process.

Can I find out what my lab tests will cost before they are performed?

Yes, many of our patients are now enrolled in "high deductible" health plans and are concerned about costs. Please let us know when you arrive at the laboratory that you would like us to estimate your costs before any services are performed. You will be told our full price, or "retail" fees, and our self-pay 75% discount fees. You can then choose to bill your insurance or choose the self-pay option.

Are there any extra costs that I should be aware of pertaining to my laboratory tests?

Yes, based on the initial results, some tests require further testing (such as positive cultures or certain blood tests). This requirement, known as "reflexing," will add tests and fees to your bill that may not be included in any cost estimates.

There will also be charges for the blood collection (veni puncture fees), and possible fees associated with specimen shipping and handling if any of your tests are to be sent to an outside laboratory.

Will my insurance cover my laboratory tests?

Because coverage varies from plan to plan, we recommend that you contact your insurance carrier to confirm coverage and how much they will pay. El Camino Hospital works with most insurance carriers but some HMOs are the exception.

If I have a primary insurance carrier that will not cover any of the laboratory costs but my secondary insurance carrier will cover all costs, can El Camino Hospital bill my secondary carrier instead?

No. If you have both a primary and secondary insurance carrier, El Camino Hospital is required to bill your primary insurance first and then bill your secondary insurance.

May I pay for my laboratory tests myself?

Yes, you may request to register as a "Self-Pay" patient and be offered a 75% discount off our regular "retail" charges. You may use a credit card like Visa or MasterCard or request to be billed and pay the bill within 30 days. (We are unable to offer any discounts on tests sent to outside laboratories.)