Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I find more information about the tests my doctor has ordered?
Three of the sites we would recommend for further exploration about the tests your doctor ordered are:
I have trouble remembering to schedule my mammogram or pap test or even to donate blood for my community. Is there some way I can get a reminder?
The College of American Pathologists has a useful service that will send you an email reminder to help you remember to schedule your regular screening tests and/or blood donations. You can sign-up for the reminder service at My Health Test Reminder.
Will Medicare pay for the tests?
Not all lab tests are paid for by Medicare. Some tests may be billed to the patient. These include:
- Tests that are not considered necessary by Medicare for the patient's diagnosis or treatment.
- Tests that are ordered as "screening" tests for routine physical exams where there is no evidence of disease.
- Tests which are ordered more often than Medicare recommends.
- Tests which are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because they are considered experimental or investigational.
Under what circumstances can a physician order these tests?
- Medicare will pay for certain tests only if they are supported with the appropriate diagnosis provided by the physician.
- The physician must provide a diagnosis code on the test requisition form.
- Medicare has a list of predetermined covered conditions, i.e., diagnosis codes.
If Medicare will not pay for the test, is the test necessary?
The physician knows the clinical background of the patient and is best suited to make that determination. Tests are often ordered to screen for a variety of factors which may be used to assess the patient's health. Examples of these factors include personal, family, medications, or age-related concerns.
What is required if the test is not on Medicare's list of predetermined coverage conditions?
The patient will be asked to sign an Advance Beneficiary Notice if the diagnosis for the test ordered is not on Medicare's list of predetermined covered conditions.
A signature is required in order for the laboratory to perform the test. A signature acknowledges that the patient may be billed for the test and that he or she agrees to pay should Medicare deny payment.
How long does it take to receive test results?
Depending on the test performed, most tests are completed and reported to your ordering healthcare provider within about 24 hours of receiving the sample for testing. Certain tests take several days to weeks. Results are sent directly to the ordering healthcare professional. Please ask your healthcare provider to contact you when your test results have been received.
Can I receive a copy of my test results?
If your healthcare provider ordered your test for you, please contact your healthcare provider to obtain copies of your test results.
Can I see my test results online?
Currently, we do not have a means for patients to access their own test results online. Results for laboratory tests performed by The Pathology Center are reported to the healthcare provider who ordered the test(s) and are not sent directly to you. Please check with your healthcare provider to review your test results.
Can The Pathology Center help me interpret my results?
Please address questions related to interpretation of your test results to your personal healthcare provider.
- Your doctor will interpret your laboratory test results (that is, determine their meaning) in conjunction with information about your medical history, physical examination, and other test results, and provide you with medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
What is The Pathology Center's billing process?
- The laboratory test will always be billed to the insurance provider prior to being billed to the patient.
- The patient will be billed for the laboratory test only if the insurance provider denies payment.
- The patient should contact the insurance provider if he or she believes the test should be covered.
- If the patient is billed, the price will be the same as was billed to the insurance provider.
- If the patient has supplementary insurance, the denied test may be covered under that policy. The patient should contact his or her supplementary insurance representative for assistance.