Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Ambulance services are among the medical providers getting millions from Medicare to carry older patients to Utah hospitals. In this 2006 photo, 14 new ambulances parade in front of the Salt Lake City/County Building. Chris Detrick/Salt Lake Tribune
Led by Myriad Genetics, Utah health services make millions from Medicare
Aging » As boomers get older, more patients are using the program, boosting providers’ revenues.
First Published Apr 11 2014 06:19 pm • Last Updated Apr 11 2014 09:16 pm

Myriad Genetics takes in twice as much revenue from Medicare — $54 million in 2012 — as all other laboratories and similar businesses in Utah combined, according to an analysis of federal data.

Other clinical labs, ambulance services and surgical centers accounted for another $25.6 million that year, according to data provided by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. The data do not include hospitals.

At a glance

Find your doctor

To search Medicare’s 2012 billings by state, city, specialty and physician names, visit an interactive graphic at the Wall Street Journal.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The Obama administration cast the disclosure as part of an effort to make the health care system more transparent. Open-government advocates and journalists have been pressing for release of the data for decades; some doctor groups resisted the release.

The Wall Street Journal, which got advance access to the data, built an interactive graphic that displays the Medicare reimbursement by state, specialty or provider. The top 200 medical providers in Utah took in nearly $160 million in 2012, about half going to doctors and half to other kinds of providers.

Myriad Genetics accounted for a third of the Medicare money billed in Utah because it’s the largest DNA lab in the country, with tests for hereditary breast, ovarian and colon cancer.

And, said spokesman Ron Rogers, Myriad does all of its tests at its Salt Lake City lab instead of having labs in many states, as other national companies have.

None of the tests that Myriad charges Medicare for costs much: the priciest is $14.07, the data show. But, Rogers explained, genetic sequencing for a single patient can involve hundreds of the tests.

For each patient, for example, the BRCA1 and BRCA1 genetic sequencing tests for breast cancer performed by Myriad cost Medicare $2,767 this year, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing this month.

Medicare comprises only about 10 percent of Myriad’s revenue, far less than the 30 percent or 40 percent that other companies in the category report.

For many providers, Medicare is a growing part of their business, reflecting the advancing ages of baby boomers.


story continues below
story continues below

Intermountain Healthcare’s central laboratory in Murray got the second highest amount of Medicare lab work, just more than $2 million.

That’s because the central lab does tests such as those for thyroid problems or cholesterol from throughout the chain’s 22 hospitals and 185 clinics in Utah, said Jason Burgess, an Intermountain spokesman.

Tests covered by Medicare comprise 30 percent of the lab’s business, Burgess said.

It’s about the same share for the next two largest Medicare providers after Myriad Genetics: Classic Lifeguard Air Medical and Gold Cross Ambulance.

Classic Lifeguard, which has bases in rural areas throughout the region, carries seriously ill or injured people by helicopter or turbo-prop plane to hospitals and from smaller to larger hospitals.

In 2012, the company got nearly $2.6 million from Medicare, but there was essentially no profit after paying the costs of maintaining five 24-hour bases for those patients, said Tony Henderson, chief executive.

"It’s a very needed service … but it barely makes money to fly Medicare patients," Henderson said.

Medicaid pays even less, meaning the air ambulance loses money on those patients — money it makes up from private insurers, he said.

It’s the same story at Gold Cross Ambulance, the biggest ambulance company in Utah.

President Mike Moffitt said Medicare patients comprise about a third of its patients, although they are a bigger share in St. George and Washington County.

But the reimbursement covers less than 40 percent, generally, of the cost of providing ambulance services, in part because Medicare won’t pay for drugs, he said.

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.