I could take it anywhere.
Well, I can take it mostly anywhere, but not here. At least not anymore.
Sorry. That was a long way to go to butcher a song lyric. And what the hell am I talking about?
As most of you probably know, it’s incredibly easy these days to have complete control over the diagnostic portion of your health care. You can go online, select and order blood and other diagnostic tests, and get the results online — in many cases, for much cheaper than if you had paid out-of-pocket for doctor-ordered tests. Easy, that is, except in seven states: MA, MD, ND, SD, NJ, RI, and good ‘ole New York, New York. For whatever reason, legislators in these states have decided that information is inherently dangerous, and you need to be protected from obtaining it without a doctor’s supervision.
Which means this experiment shouldn’t have been possible for me. But thankfully, one company — Direct Labs out of Florida — essentially cobbled together a workaround. A limited number of tests could be ordered online, at which point a requisition form would be generated by a doctor in FL that you could print out and bring to LabCorp.
At least you could until about three days after I last posted. Which is when under pressure from the NY Attorney General, Direct Labs terminated its so-called Direct Access program.
I had a brief email exchange with their CEO; she doesn’t believe she was breaking any laws by administering the workaround, nevertheless, she stated that her company couldn’t shoulder the legal and financial burden of trying to fight it.
Which of course makes me reallllly wish I had wrapped up this thing on its original schedule. Because without an ongoing way to order the NMR tests (if I haven’t mentioned it before, my doctors never wanted any part in this endeavor), I can’t really continue.
There is the option of getting the tests done in Pennsylvania. The biggest hurdle there is it would require the time and fuel for a four-hour round-trip to the closest lab. The financial costs of that are potentially doable; the time requirements haven’t been.
The time to make the required remaining trips down there will potentially open up when I finish the semester in May, but this latest setback is making the whole thing seem like a giant windmill I’m tilting at.
Any ideas welcome. Also, if you live in any of the states that have made online test ordering illegal (or even if you don’t), write somebody. Write the AG or your congressperson. The notion that we need to be protected from information about ourselves is insane in 2015.
It’s amazing that both the genetic and diagnostic testing that originally inspired and made this experiment possible — at least in New York — both no longer exist.