Clinic patients can request test reports from labs

Patients curious about tests they took at medical clinics at the center of a hepatitis alert can request the results from medical laboratories.

State and federal guidelines let any patient ask for test results either through a doctor or directly from the labs.

The ability to make a direct request is especially important to patients who lack a primary care doctor and whose pathology reports might have gotten misplaced after some of the endoscopy clinics closed.

When law enforcement officers seized roughly 2,000 boxes of patient records, they left behind test results that medical labs were faxing to clinics because these reports weren't part of the confiscation order.

"We did not take those -- anything that was faxed, lab (and) pathology records," said Jose Montoya, spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department.

No one is sure what happened to the pathology reports that were left in the clinics.

Three clinics voluntarily closed their doors several days after the records were seized. Clark County had already barred all invasive procedures, allowing the clinics to stay open mainly to consult with patients and discuss test results.

The group of 14 doctors that ran the clinics is in disarray, making it harder for many patients to know where to turn for answers, said Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani.

Giunchigliani and her husband were patients at one of the clinics and are awaiting test results. That has strengthened her resolve, she said, to ensure the system works as well as possible from now on.

"I have friends and constituents that are affected," she said. "We have a responsibility to make sure those patients are not victimized again."

Patients seeking their test results can get them the quickest through their doctors, said Nancy Fitzsimmons, spokeswoman for Quest Diagnostics.

Patients who lack a primary care doctor and don't know the name of the lab that did the tests can get the lab's name from their insurers, Fitzsimmons said.

Uninsured patients with no doctors must research the labs in the region to find the one that ran their tests, she said.

Quest Diagnostics will mail or fax a verification form to patients so they can confirm their identity, she said. When Quest receives the completed form, it will take a week or two to get the test results to the patients.

Fitzsimmons noted that Quest is setting up a special line Monday for this purpose. The number is 702-733-7866.

Apex Laboratories will mail or fax a medical-release form to the requestor, who must return the completed form with a copy of a driver's license or other identification, said Paula Yakubik, Apex spokeswoman.

Apex will make the test results available 24 hours after that, Yakubik said. The company suggests having a doctor look over the results because they can be hard for the layperson to read.

"The reports have a lot of medical terminology," she said.