PathGroup Acquires Pathology Consultants in South Carolina

PathGroup Acquires Pathology Consultants in South Carolina

PathGroup Acquires Pathology Consultants in South Carolina

 PathGroup (Brentwood, TN) acquired Pathology Consultants Inc. (PCI-Greenville, SC) for an undisclosed sum in January. PCI operates a CAP-accredited pathology lab in Greenville, South Carolina. It has approximately 100 employees, including 31 pathologists.

PCI’s biggest client is Prisma Health System of South Carolina (Greenville, SC). Prisma Health is the largest health system in South Carolina, formed by the merger of Palmetto Health and the Greenville Health System in November 2017. Prisma Health includes 18 hospitals and 270 physician practices. Its largest hospitals are Greenville Memorial Hospital (746 beds) and Richland Hospital (641 beds).

Pathology Consultants was founded by Arthur Dreskin, MD, and Don Kilgore, MD, in 1959. The group is currently led by David Schammel, MD, President and Medical Director, and Jesse Stafford, MD, who is Chief Clinical Officer for Laboratory Services at Prisma Health.

Ben Davis, MD, Chief Executive at PathGroup, says the PCI lab in Greenville will remain fully operational and that Drs. Schammel and Stafford will continue in their respective leadership roles at PCI.

The acquisition of PCI represents PathGroup’s sixth deal since Pritzker Private Capital (Chicago,IL) took a majority stake in the company in the summer of 2016.

PathGroup now has more than 2,600 employees, including more than 225 pathologists, serving 100+ hospital contracts and thousands of physician clients. Annual revenue is now estimated to be more than $500 million.

PathGroup Acquires Pathology Consultants in South Carolina

Spotlight Interview With PathGroup CEO Ben Davis

Spotlight Interview With PathGroup CEO Ben Davis

Originally founded by pathologists in 1965, PathGroup (Brentwood, TN) has grown to become the nation’s largest privately-held lab company. PathGroup, which currently has 2,200 employees, is owned by Pritzker Private Capital, company management and pathologists. Laboratory
Economics recently spoke with long-time Chief Executive Ben Davis, MD, to discuss PathGroup and its growing role in Covid-19 testing.

When did PathGroup initiate Covid-19 PCR testing and how many are being performed?
We began Covid-19 PCR testing on April 1st with an initial capacity of 2,000 tests per day using the Hologic Panther and Roche cobas 6800 platforms. We are currently performing an average of about 7,500 tests per day with capacity of up to 14,000 tests per day. Demand is coming from physician clinics, state health departments, employers, schools, universities, hospitals and nursing homes. Peak demand came in early July when we received specimens in excess of our capacity for several days.

How have positivity rates trended?
On July 6 our positivity rate peaked at 17%. That’s dropped to a current average of about 10%, including 12.5% for patients under age 30 and 9% for those 30 and above.

What is your turnaround time for Covid-19 PCR testing?
Our turnaround time from specimen collection to result reporting is consistently 24 hours for all clients. We have limited new client additions in order to maintain a 24-hour turnaround time. The location of our main 150,000-square-foot lab—adjacent to Nashville International Airport—has also helped.

Could PathGroup do more Covid-19 PCR tests if it had more supplies?
Yes. The current shortages of specimen collection devices and test kits are keeping us below instrument capacity. We’ve kept in close touch with our suppliers on changing situations and plan accordingly.

Are most private insurers matching Medicare’s $100 reimbursement rate for Covid-19 PCR testing?

Describe the NIH grant that PathGroup was awarded and how it will be used?
PathGroup has received a $20.75 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under its Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) program. The grant funding will be used to purchase new high-throughput liquid handling, robot and automated testing equipment from Illumina, LGC, Hologic and Thermo Fisher. We also plan to hire an additional 100 to 200 employees with the goal of expanding our Covid-19 PCR testing capacity to 80,000 tests per day. Importantly, we’ll be diversifying our supply chain to mitigate risk against supply chain constraints as fall/winter approaches.

Which Covid-19 antibody test does PathGroup perform?
Roche’s cobas serum antibody test. We’re performing about 400 tests per day.

Have non-Covid-19 clinical and pathology test volumes bounced back from the lows?
Yes. In late March/early April, our volumes had declined temporarily by 75% with anatomic pathology case volume hit the hardest. But in May, as physician offices started re-opening and elective surgeries resumed, we saw a sharp rise in non-Covid-19 volumes that are currently back at 100% of pre-pandemic levels, maybe even a little higher.

What precautions have you taken for your employees?
About 15% to 20% of our 2,200 employees are currently working from home. All people entering our lab facilities have their temperature checked and must wear masks. We are also offering Covid-19 testing on a voluntary basis to any employee that requests one, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic.

Do you think Covid-19 will come back in a severe way this fall/winter?
I would not want to predict severity, but the disease is likely to continue to spread this coming fall/winter. A vaccine will help, but Covid-19 is not going away. One of my biggest fears is that the disease will adapt and mutate into a more virulent strain, such as SARS-CoV-1 in 2003 and the MERS-CoV in 2012.

PathGroup Acquires Pathology Consultants in South Carolina

PathGroup Buys Southeastern Pathology Associates

PathGroup Buys Southeastern Pathology Associates

SEPA was started as an outpatient pathology laboratory in 1992 by its Medical Director Patrick Godbey, MD and Chief Medical Officer Mark Hanly, MD, who met while in training at the Medical College of Georgia. Over the next 20 years, their practice grew and they started to take on hospital contracts in central and southeast Georgia and northern Florida, and started a clinical laboratory.

SEPA sold its clinical laboratory business to LabCorp in 2013. Since then, SEPA has focused on its hospital contract business and to a lesser extent providing outreach anatomic pathology services to physician office clients. Its larger contracts include laboratory medical directorships at five hospitals
affiliated with Baptist Medical Center (Jacksonville, FL), and two hospitals affiliated with Southeast Georgia Health System (Brunswick, GA). SEPA’s main anatomic pathology lab is located in Brunswick and it has five smaller freestanding AP labs in Georgia, Florida and South Carolina.

Drs. Godbey and Hanly will continue in their current roles at SEPA and will also join a newlyformed Medical Executive Committee at PathGroup.

Pritzker Private Capital (Chicago, IL) took a majority stake in PathGroup in the summer of 2016. The size and pace of PathGroup’s acquisitions now seems to be accelerating, observes Laboratory Economics