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Alert Number 88

More on Prognostic Test Packages - Take Care of the Details

Date: April 20, 2005

In my previous Topics Alert (Number 87, April 3, 2005) we announced CLL prognostic testing packages are now available from Quest diagnostics. The full details are in our article Prognostic and Monitoring Tests. It is important that you make sure your doctor's office follows the directions given in our article.


1. The test codes used must be the ones specified in our article. These are the codes for the four different package deals, and I have copied them below for your convenience. Make sure the nurse does not use individual codes for the different components, why would you want to "buy retail" when you can get a package deal?

CLL Prognostic Panel, Limited: 17240X [9524]
CLL Prognostic Panel, Comprehensive w/o Karyotype: 17312X [9532]
CLL Prognostic Panel, Comprehensive: 17239X [9523]
CLL Prognostic Panel, Monitoring: 17290X [9531]


2. It is also very important that the samples are sent to the California address specified on each package. Quest Diagnostics is a huge company, with many different testing labs across the country. Only the lab in California, under the expert guidance of Dr. Maher Albitar, is qualified to do all the tests.

Quest Diagnostics Nichols Institute
33608 Ortega Highway
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92690-6130


3. The samples must be sent by guaranteed overnight delivery. I urge you to read the section titled "Some Common-sense Pointers to Consider" in our article.


The reason for sending out this somewhat redundant Alert is that one of our patients tried to get the comprehensive test package done recently. Unfortunately, despite the doctor being told about the package deals, the nurse who actually did the shipping sent the samples to the local Quest lab in New Jersey, and used the test codes for the individual tests, rather than the package codes. The result was a huge mess that took several days to sort out. Even though the fault was not at their end, Quest has very graciously agreed to take care of the problem - for this patient. I think I am going to like working with this company, they are a class act.

Moral of the story: in our article there is a "Print this test" button at the bottom of each package, please print out the information and take it with you to the doctor's office. Give a copy of it to your doctor and another copy of it to the nurse that will do the actual shipping of the samples. Make sure she gets the point that these are new test codes (she won't find them in her old Quest test codes, and the local Quest lab may not even know about them), and that she has to send them to the specified California address.

It is your blood, your CLL, your prognostic tests, it needs your effort to make sure that the job is done right. All of this will be routine after a while, but for right now it is important that you take care of the details.

Be well.


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