Wilcox Hospital laboratory is changing hands again

The Wilcox Memorial Hospital laboratory in now under the management of Clinical Laboratories of Hawaii.

This is a change from Diagnostic Laboratory Services, which had operated the laboratory located behind the emergency room for three years. DLS officials had no comment about the transition.

The company continues to operate a laboratory inside Kuhio Medical Center down Kuhio Highway from Wilcox in Lihu’e.

Clinical Laboratories (CLH) also manages laboratories at Straub Clinic & Hospital, and Kapi’olani Health on O’ahu, which together with Wilcox are Hawaii Pacific Health.

CLH lists Kaua’i locations on Rice Street in Lihu’e, the East Kauai Professional Building in Kapa’a, and Waimea at the West Kauai Medical Center at Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital, in addition to the new contract location with Wilcox.

Terms of the newest contract were not disclosed.

“This transition will allow the laboratories to improve services to our physicians and patients through upgraded technology and information systems,” said Dew-Anne Langcaon, executive vice president of Hawaii Pacific Health.

“It will also provide more cost-effective services through volume discounts and other economies that come from being part of a larger laboratory operation,” she said.

The 30 Wilcox Hospital laboratory workers have been offered jobs with CLH, and “benefits offered to staff will be comparable to the benefits they currently enjoy,” Langcaon continued.

She said the benefits of merging the three hospitals into one are seen through the savings that will be achieved having CLH handle the laboratory chores at all three hospitals.

Plans are afoot to connect all laboratories statewide – CLH and otherwise – via a single information system, by the end of 2003, she added.

Some Wilcox employees are going through the process again of being fired then re-hired, as was the case when the lab contract changed hands a few years ago.

Former Wilcox laboratory microbiology department supervisor, Linda Allen, will be the new lab manager. She left Wilcox three years ago when DLS closed the in-house microbiology department.

She joined CLH, and has managed labs on Guam and O’ahu.

CLH and DLS are rivals for Hawai’i’s medical-laboratory business, and three years ago CLH sued to stop the Wilcox management contract with DLS.

Outpatient registration for lab work at the Wilcox lab will be done at the lab, saving patients a bit of running around.

Staff Writer Paul C. Curtis can be reached at mailto:pcurtis@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 224).

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