ETC Specimen Collection Service

Approximately two years ago, the Emergency Treatment Center initiated a specimen collection service as a courtesy to UIHC physicians. This service, although well received by patients and clinicians, is in serious jeopardy of being discontinued because of a failure to comply with requests for required information from the ordering physician.

Three options are available to initiate the ETC specimen collection/lab order service.

Option #1: Using an approved order form*, the order may be Faxed to the ETC at 356-0533.

Option #2: Using an approved order form*, the order may be sent via pneumatic tube to Station #14.

Option #3: Using call-in order, the order may be called to an automated message center at 356-3333.
The ordering physician will be prompted to provide key required information that will allow
the specimen to be collected and the laboratory order to be completed.

*Order Form can be found at the following URL:

After the specimen is obtained, hardcopy results will be sent to the office of the designated physician for review prior to placement in the UIHC medical record.

The most frequent problems associated with this service are:

1) The lack of acceptable diagnosis information in order to complete billing requirements
    (for example- "heart disease" instead of chronic atrial fibrillation.) Since the more
    generic term is not specific enough for coding, the entire encounter remains
    incomplete and generates a substantial backlog of administrative problems for ETC
    and laboratory staff.

    To address the continuing problem of not receiving adequate information for billing,
    the 'specimen collection' visit will be assigned to the clinical department associated
    with the physician ordering the test. In those cases when inadequate information is
    provided, it will be the responsibility of the physician's clinical department to complete
    the visit so that laboratory charges can be posted.

2) Insufficient or incomplete information regarding the identification of the responsible
    physician including pager number. Because the patients are not registered as ETC
    patients, this information is critically important, particularly to track down the
    responsible physician if a "panic value" is obtained from the test. While the ETC
    staff processes the lab orders and collects the specimens, no ETC charge is made
    for these services. Only the standard laboratory exam fee is charged.

3) A complete lack of prior notification of the Emergency Department. Not infrequently,
    a patient will present to the ETC requesting a test without any paperwork having been
    received. This requires the staff to track down the ordering physician and identify the
    specific nature of the requested test. As the ETC census has significantly increased,
    these efforts are interfering with the ability of the ETC staff to attend to pressing priorities.

We endeavor to continue to provide this service for all of you who have been cooperative and compliant with requests for essential information; however, there is great risk that the service will have to be curtailed for problems of chronic non-compliance. Your assistance in this matter will be greatly appreciated and will allow this useful service to continue to be provided.