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Case Study 5

The setting is a nursing home where a phlebotomist from the laboratory goes to draw blood samples each day. The phlebotomist picks up the requisitions for blood tests at the nursing station and then goes to the various rooms to draw blood from the patients. She notices that every requisition has an Advanced Beneficiary Notice (ABN) attached to it that is signed by the patient, even when the tests that were ordered don't need them. She asks the nurse at the station but she informs the phlebotomist that she doesn't know anything about it because it is done on the night shift.

She lets the phlebotomist know that she will inform the nursing supervisor about it when she arrives at 9:00 AM. The phlebotomist completes her blood draws and returns to the laboratory. What should the phlebotomist do, if anything, in addition to her letting the nurse know about the problem?

Correct Answer: The phlebotomist should report the incident to her supervisor upon returning to the laboratory.

Discussion: Since the laboratory is submitting the claims for Medicare patients from whom the phlebotomist collects blood specimens, the problem is the lab's problem. However, it is not going to change the fact that the ABNs were already signed by the patients, if the phlebotomist refuses to collect specimens from these patients or if the nursing personnel are required to remove the ABNs. By contacting the supervisor, an appropriate representative from the laboratory can follow up with the nursing supervisor to ensure they understand the laws and regulations that govern ABNs.