Diagnostic laboratory services in Augusta, Georgia
The diagnostic laboratory at Doctors Hospital of Augusta is fully accredited by the American College of Pathologists and is overseen by a certified pathologist. Open 24/7/365, our full-service laboratory is easily accessible for our patients in Augusta, Georgia—one of the fastest growing areas of the CSRA.
Our pathologists and technologists are highly experienced in performing lab work for adult and pediatric patients. The laboratory team is committed to providing your doctor quick access to test results.
To speak with someone in our main laboratory, please call (706) 651-6545.
Doctors Hospital of Augusta is recognized by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) as an Accredited Laboratory. This accreditation showcases our commitment to high-quality patient care.
Lab tests we offer
We operate and comply with applicable federal and state laws and regulations under the Georgia Department of Human Services and the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act (CLIA) of 1988. Our laboratory is licensed by the State of Georgia to perform the following tests:
- Anatomic pathology (the microscopic and macroscopic examination of bodily fluids and tissue to detect disease)
- Bacteriology II (the examination of bacteria to diagnose bacterial and infectious diseases)
- Blood gas analysis (blood tests used to measure the amounts of gases, such as oxygen and carbon dioxide, in the blood)
- Exfoliative cytology (the microscopic examination of cells shed from the body, often performed as a cancer screening)
- Hematology (tests to examine blood and blood properties, commonly used to detect and diagnose anemia and other blood disorders)
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) screening and testing (examinations, often involving antigen/antibody tests using blood samples, to detect HIV infection)
- Immunohematology (Blood Bank) – ABO Blood Group, Rh Type, Prenatal lab work, Ante-natal Rhogam testing, Pre-transfusion testing.
- Immunology (tests performed to examine the body's immune system and its ability to fight disease)
- Medical toxicology (tests used to determine the extent and severity of injuries and illnesses related to the body's exposure to drugs, chemicals and biological and radiological agents)
- Mycobacteriology II (tests used to detect and recover mycobacteria—a type of germ—to diagnose diseases, such as leprosy and tuberculosis)
- Mycology (microscopic examinations of infected tissue to detect fungi-caused diseases)
- Oral pathology (the study of oral and maxillofacial tissue to diagnose mouth and jaw disorders)
- Parasitology (the study of parasitic organisms in the body, often involving a stool sample)
- Routine chemistry panels (tests to determine the body's overall wellness and functionality, often involving a blood sample)
- Serology (the examination of blood serum and other bodily floods to detect antibodies, commonly used to detect viral diseases and certain sexually transmitted diseases)
- Therapeutic drug monitoring, or TDM (tests performed to detect the amount of certain medicines in the blood and determine the effectiveness of those medications)
- Urinalysis (tests involving the examination of urine to detect a range of diseases, such as kidney disease and diabetes)
The laboratory at our hospital is wheelchair accessible, and free juice is available after fasting blood work is complete. Physicians can fax laboratory orders for patients to (706) 651-6568.
Our hospital's laboratory policies
It is the policy of Doctors Hospital Laboratory to make a list of current test methods, performance specifications, specimen requirements, CPT/HCPC codes, pricing structure and testing site information available to our patients. Please let us know if there is any information you require regarding testing methodology or our performance.
Reporting patient results to physicians
It is the policy of Doctors Hospital to report all patient results within established turn-around times. When circumstances occur in which reporting of patient results will be delayed, our laboratory and medical staff have established protocols to notify physicians when it is important for patient care. If a problem arises that prevents timely result notification, then the physician will be informed regarding the new expected time of report.
Questions you may be asked about Medicare coverage of lab tests
What is an advanced beneficiary notice (ABN)?
An ABN is a form that lets you know you may have to pay for a test your doctor has ordered if Medicare refuses to pay for it. Once you sign an ABN, the lab may bill you for the cost of the test.
Why do they want me to sign an ABN?
Although the Medicare program pays for most lab tests, it will not pay for some tests under certain circumstances. When that happens, our lab must ask the patient to pay. Consequently, we ask the patients to sign an ABN whenever Medicare appears to deny payment for a specific test the doctor has ordered. The reason you are being asked to sign an ABN now is that this is one of those occasions in which we or your doctor believe Medicare will not pay.
Do I have to sign the ABN?
No. You have three options:
- You may sign the ABN and have the test performed. You can then be billed for the test.
- You may refuse to sign the ABN and choose not to have the test done. However, in not having the test done, you will be going against the medical advice of your doctor. So we advise you to consult with your doctor before choosing this option.
- You may refuse to sign the ABN and go ahead with the testing. Our lab will perform the test and you will receive a bill—even though you refused to sign the ABN. A witness will sign the ABN to indicate you have been advised of the ABN and refused to sign it but still want the test performed. Under Medicare guidelines, we are required to then bill you directly for the tests.
Why do you think Medicare will not pay for this test?
Medicare pays only for tests it considers medically necessary. Some tests are always considered medically necessary, but most tests fall in the middle—and may only be medically necessary under certain circumstances, depending on the patient’s diagnosis.
If the diagnosis the doctor lists is not one of the diagnoses Medicare will accept for that test (or if the doctor does not tell the lab what the diagnosis is), the test will not be considered medically necessary. Medicare will not pay for it.
If Medicare says the test is not medically necessary, why perform it?
Your doctor has made a medical judgment that you need the test. When your doctor says a test is medically necessary, he or she considers your personal medical history, any medications you may be taking and generally accepted medical practices.
When Medicare says a test is not medically necessary, it is not making a medical decision about your health. It is acting like an insurance company deciding what it will and will not pay. There are occasions when Medicare will not pay for services doctors think are important to a patient’s health. But as the ABN says, you have the option not to have the test done.
If you have questions about a specific test your doctor has ordered for you and why it is medically necessary, please consult with your physician.
Will I be automatically billed?
No, after the lab performs the test, we will ask Medicare to pay for it. If Medicare does pay for it, you will not receive a bill. You will only get a bill if Medicare denies the claim. Remember that if Medicare denies the claim, you may contest the denial if you think it was wrong.
Is Medicare more or less likely to pay if I sign an ABN?
Neither. The fact that you have signed an ABN will not affect Medicare’s decision.
Will supplemental insurance pay for the test if Medicare does not?
Maybe. If you have a supplemental insurance policy—sometimes called a Medigap policy—contact the insurance company and ask whether the policy covers lab tests not covered by Medicare. If so, find out how to submit claims for payment under the policy.
Do I have to sign an ABN every time a new test is done?
No. You will be asked to sign an ABN only when the doctor or lab has good reason to think that Medicare will deny payment for the ordered test. There may be visits to the doctor’s office or lab when you will be asked to sign an ABN and other visits when you will not. It all depends on the test and the reason for ordering it on that visit.
I haven't been asked to sign an ABN before. Why do I have to sign one today?
If you haven't been asked to sign an ABN before, there was no reason to believe Medicare would deny payment for tests ordered during previous visits. However, on this visit, your doctor or healthcare provider thinks Medicare will not pay for the test being ordered.
You should ask your doctor what the difference is between today's visit and other visits when you did not have to sign an ABN. The reason may be because:
- Your doctor ordered different tests on previous visits.
- This is the first time your doctor is ordering this particular test.
- This is the same test your doctor ordered before, but your diagnosis has changed—meaning the doctor is ordering the test for a different reason.
- This is the same test and the same diagnosis, but Medicare changed the rules from your last visit and no longer pays for the test under this diagnosis.