Post Date: April 10, 2015

Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of Theranos, Supports HB 2645 Arizona Telemedicine Lab Test Law

House Bill 2645 would revolutionize medical lab testing in the state of Arizona. Elizabeth Holmes, the CEO of Theranos, and the company that provides tests to 40 Walgreen’s clinics in Arizona, supports the bill.

House Bill 2645 would allow Arizona residents to receive expanded access to laboratory testing without a doctor’s order. The bill is currently before the Arizona Legislature. The bill is sponsored by Representative Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek. The current Arizona laws regarding lab testing allow consumers to get a limited number of tests, like cholesterol screening and blood glucose checks from licensed labs. Bill 2645 would give consumers the option of receiving any test a lab would sell.

Theranos sells test to clinics in Arizona, mostly in the Phoenix area. The company’s automated technology is often quicker and less expensive than traditional labs used by most doctor’s offices. Theranos and Holmes goal is to rapidly advance tests and testing in retail clinics.

Additionally, Theranos publishes all lab test fees, whereas typical medical labs have varying fees, depending upon their negotiated rates agreed to with the insurance companies. Often consumers without insurance forgo necessary lab tests because they don’t have the exorbitant fees that labs charge for the tests. Holmes is a staunch supporter of House Bill 2645 and believes that expanded testing options would allow more people, especially low-income people, to take charge of their healthcare and receive the proper tests to make informed decisions.

As Holmes stated in an interview with The Arizona Republic, “It’s a basic human right for people to get access to laboratory data in a time that matters,” of myriad tests used to diagnose or predict disease.

“Inherently, we’ve got a system which is by law saying you can only get these tests done at a cost that is affordable once you already have the disease,” Holmes said. “And if they are not symptomatic, insurance won’t pay for it. So people have to pay out of pocket, and paying out of pocket is insanely expensive.”

Holmes’ viewpoint is that the medical industry is geared toward treating people after they have been diagnosed with a chronic condition. However, a consumer with a family history of certain diseases wants preventative testing to insure they don’t have the disease is often denied by the insurance company and the labs fees exceed affordability.

HB 2645, passed the Arizona House without a single “no” vote. The bill is now assigned to the Arizona Senate Health and Human Services and Rules committees. Currently, Arizona law allows consumers direct access to 11 categories of testing, such as lipid profiles for cholesterol checks, glucose, urine tests, prostate-specific antigen, urine pregnancy tests, and others. However, these tests are not enough; this is where HB 2645 would eliminate the need for a doctor’s recommendation for the tests.

The legislation would not require a doctor or other licensed medical professional to review or act on medical tests that a consumer orders directly from a lab. Insurance companies and the state’s Medicaid program, the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, would not be required to pay for direct-to-consumer tests.

Holmes said, “Theranos typically charges 50 to 90 percent less than what Medicare pays for similar tests.” She also stated that HB 2645 could save “hundreds of millions of dollars” in Arizona health costs.

At Secure Medical, our professionals urge everyone to familiarize themselves with House Bill 2645 and add their support for this revolutionary bill that will support Arizona consumers