We are a dermatopathology service, a subspecialty of dermatology and surgical pathology that focuses on the diagnosis of disease based on a tissue sample (a biopsy or an excision). Skin pathology encompasses not only skin rashes and skin tumors, but also hair, nails, and oral mucosa. Dermatopathologists are physicians that have specialized training in providing consultative services to dermatologists and other physicians or physician-extenders to help diagnose and treat disease. We make our diagnosis by viewing the tissue through a microscope.
No, not typically. We do not see patients, take biopsies, or treat patients at our lab. Although our dermatopathologists are physicians and have completed medical school, they are trained to collaborate with other physicians and integrate clinical information to come to a final diagnosis. In every case, the dermatopathologist will review any provided documentation, including patient exam notes, family history, clinical images, prior biopsies, and laboratory testing results, then compare these with the microscopic appearance of the lesion.
Although our primary clients are dermatologists, we also receive skin biopsies from physician assistants, nurse practitioners, or other physician extenders working in dermatology offices. Family practitioners, plastic surgeons, OB-GYN surgeons or breast surgeons will also send occasional skin specimens to us for interpretation. Many dentists and oral surgeons prefer to send their oral biopsies to us because of the similarities between skin and oral mucosa. And, we receive quite a few specimens from ophthalmologists to identify lesions around the eyes and eyelids.
Normally, specimens and slides are sent directly to Spek Diagnostics by physicians or other medical providers. Most providers will be happy to send your biopsy to the laboratory you choose. If you would like your specimen to be interpreted at Spek Diagnostics, please inform your medical practitioner. We recommend that specimens be sent to us directly from your provider or lab due to special packaging and shipping requirements. If you have any questions, please contact us.
For STAT (emergent) cases, results may be available the same day or within 12-18 hours after receipt. In most cases, pathology reports from a biopsy or an excision will be available to the referring provider the day after we receive the specimen (M-F, excluding holidays). In some cases, our dermatopathologists will need to perform additional testing and/or staining of the tissue to come to a final diagnosis. These tests are ordered and processed overnight, so each day a stain is ordered will delay a final diagnosis by 24 hours.
Yes. Any patient may request a free copy of their pathology report. While we cannot give results over the phone or by email, we can send you a copy of your pathology report to your address of record or to a physician’s office at your request. The pathology reports are released to the office of the clinician that performed the biopsy and/or surgery and who sent your skin specimen to our dermatopathology lab. We strongly recommend that you review the report with your physician to ensure you understand the expected treatment.
The provider who took your biopsy is in the best position to answer questions about your report. The reason for this is that your provider has access to all of your medical history and skin history, and will be able to integrate this information with the pathology report to come to the best conclusion about your condition, treatment, or prognosis. If your provider has any questions about our report, he or she is welcome to reach out to our dermatopathologists.
Your provider or another laboratory referred your biopsy or slides to Spek Diagnostics for routine processing and interpretation. Spek performs the requested test(s) and sends the results back to your referring provider. The diagnostic pathology services provided by Spek are completely independent from any physician’s office or hospital visit. We bill insurance for making the slide, the interpretation of the slide and any special stains that are required to make an accurate diagnosis. Once insurance has processed, any remaining financial responsibility will be billed to the patient.
Our dermatopathology services are covered by most medical insurances. If you have questions about your specific insurance coverage, please contact your medical insurance carrier for detailed information.
Spek is responsible for filing all primary and secondary insurance claims on your behalf, based on information provided at the time the test is ordered. Once processing is complete, you will be financially responsible for any remaining portion and billed accordingly.
Spek Diagnostics is contracted with most major managed care insurers. We are always working to maintain credentialing and add insurance carriers to minimize out-of-network billing issues. If you have questions about your specific insurance, please contact our billing department at (208) 609-3812, or check our list of carriers below.
THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION. PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY.
Our practice understands that your medical information is private and confidential. Further, we are required by law to maintain the privacy of “protected health information.” “Protected health information” includes any individually identifiable information that we obtain from you or others that relates to your past, present or future physical or mental health, the health care you have received, or payment for your health care.
As required by law, this notice provides you with information about your rights and our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to the privacy of protected health information. This notice also discusses the uses and disclosures we will make of your protected health information. We must comply with the provisions of this notice as currently in effect, although we reserve the right to change the terms of this notice from time to time and to make the revised notice effective for all protected health information we maintain. This Notice applies to all of the records of your care generated or maintained by our practice, whether made by Provider personnel or your personal doctor.
The following categories describe different ways that we use and disclose medical information. For each category of uses or disclosures we will explain what we mean and try to give some examples. Not every use or disclosure in a category will be listed. However, all of the ways we are permitted to use and disclose information will fall within one of the categories.
For Treatment We may use medical information about you to provide, coordinate and manage your treatment or services. We may disclose medical information about you to other doctors, nurses, technicians (e.g. other clinical laboratories), medical students, or other personnel who are involved in your care. We may communicate your information either orally or in writing by mail or facsimile. We may also provide a subsequent healthcare provider with copies of various reports that should assist him or her in treating you. For example, your medical information may be provided to a care provider to whom you have been referred so as to ensure that the doctor has appropriate information regarding your previous treatment and diagnosis.
Payment We may use and disclose medical information about you so that the treatment and services you receive may be billed and payment may be collected from you, an insurance company or a third party. We may also tell your health plan about a prescribed treatment to obtain prior approval or to determine whether your plan will cover the treatment.
For Health Care Operations We may use or disclose, as needed, your health information in order to operate our business. These activities may include, but are not limited to quality assessment activities, legal advice, information systems support. In addition, we may also call you by name in the waiting room when your care provider is ready to see you. We may use or disclose your protected health information, as necessary, to confirm insurance or contact you to remind you of your appointment by telephone or reminder card.
We may release medical information about you to a friend or family member who is involved in your medical care and we may also give information to someone who helps pay for your care, unless you object in writing and ask us not to provide this information to specific individuals. In addition, we may disclose medical information about you to an entity assisting in a disaster relief effort so that your family can be notified about your condition, status and location.
As required by law we may use and disclose health information to the following types of entities, including but not limited to:
We may disclose health information for law enforcement purposes as required by law or in response to a valid subpoena or court order. Many states have requirements for reporting which may include population-based activities relating to improving health or reducing health care costs, cancer registries, birth defect registries and others.
Access, Inspect and Copy. You have the right to access, inspect and copy the medical information that may be used to make decisions about your care, with a few exceptions. Usually, this includes medical and billing records, but may not include psychotherapy notes. If you request a copy of the information, we may charge a fee for the costs of copying, mailing or other supplies associated with your request.
Confidential Communications. You have the right to request that we communicate with you about medical matters in a certain way or at a certain location. For example, you can ask that we only contact you at work or hard copy or e-mail. We will not ask you the reason for your request. We will accommodate all reasonable requests. Your request must specify how or where you wish to be contacted.
Right to Amend. If you feel that medical information we have about you is incorrect or incomplete, you may ask us to amend the information by contacting our HIPPA Compliance Officer in writing. You have the right to request an amendment for as long as the information is kept by or for the Provider. In addition, you must provide a reason that supports your request. We may deny your request for an amendment if it is not in writing or does not include a reason to support the request. In addition, we may deny your request if you ask us to amend information that:
Accounting of Disclosures. You have the right to request an ‘Accounting of Disclosures’. This is a list of the disclosures we made of medical information about you. Your request must state a time period which may not be longer than six years and may not include dates before December 12, 2022. Your request should indicate in what form you want the accounting (for example, on paper or electronically, if available). The first accounting you request within a 12 month period will be complimentary. For additional lists, we may charge you for the costs of providing the list. We will notify you of the cost involved and you may choose to withdraw or modify your request at that time before any costs are incurred.
Request Restrictions. You have the right to request a restriction or limitation on the medical information we use or disclose about you for payment or healthcare operations. You also have the right to request a limit on the medical information we disclose about you to someone who is involved in your care or the payment for your care, like a family member or friend. For example, you could ask that we not use or disclose information about a surgery you had. In your request, you must tell us what information you want to limit, whether you want to limit our use, disclosure or both, and to whom you want the limits to apply (for example, disclosures to your spouse). We are not required to agree to these types of request. We will not comply with any requests to restrict use or access of your medical information for treatment purposes. You also have the right to restrict use and disclosure of your medical information about a service or item for which you have paid out of pocket, for payment (i.e. health plans) and operational (but not treatment) purposes, if you have completely paid your bill for this item or service. We will not accept your request for this type of restriction until you have completely paid your bill (zero balance) for this item or service. We are not required to notify other healthcare providers of these restrictions, that is your responsibility.
Right to a Paper Copy of This Notice. You have the right to a paper copy of this Notice. You may ask us to give you a copy of this Notice at any time. You may also obtain a copy of this notice by printing it off of our website.
Changes to This Notice
We reserve the right to change this Notice. We reserve the right to make the revised or changed Notice effective for medical information we already have about you as well as any information we receive in the future. We will post a copy of the current Notice. The Notice will contain on the first page, in the top right hand corner, the effective date.
If you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may file a complaint with our practice by contacting our Privacy Officer at (208) 609-3812 or with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. You will not be penalized for filing a complaint.
Other Uses of Medical Information
Other uses and disclosures of medical information not covered by this Notice or the laws that apply to us will be made only with your written permission. If you provide us permission to use or disclose medical information about you, you may revoke that permission, in writing, at any time. If you revoke your permission, we will no longer use or disclose medical information about you for the reasons covered by your written authorization. However, we are unable to take back any disclosures we have already made with your permission and we are required to retain our records of the care that we provided to you.