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Laboratory FAQs


Where are the tests done?
Most of the testing is done at the primary Laboratory, Rochester General Hospital. Satellite laboratories, Newark and Lakeside Hospital, also have an extensive menu and perform most rapid response testing.

Where can I find more information about the tests ordered?
One of the sites we would recommend for further exploration about the tests your doctor ordered is Lab Tests Online.

When will my results be ready?
Most results are ready by the next day. However, availability may vary depending on the type of test. If the patient’s state of health requires rapid results in order to determine treatment, certain results can be available within minutes or hours.

What are the instructions for collecting a 24-hour urine specimen?
You'll find the instructions on the collection container.

How accurate are Lab tests?
Laboratory results must be accurate, timely and precise in order to be of value to the practitioner. Results can vary from patient to patients and from one visit to the next, depending on the patients medical condition.

There are defined procedures for every aspect of collection and testing of the specimen. Results are monitored using an extensive quality control program. Governmental and private organizations periodically inspect the laboratory. Accreditation and licensure of the laboratory is dependent on a favorable outcome to these visits.

Does Rochester General Hospital need authorization from a physician to perform a test on a urine specimen collected at home with a self-administered drug testing kit?
Rochester General Hospita does not accept any urine specimens taken with a self-administered drug testing kit such as Veri-5.

How can I cancel or add a test?
Tests may be canceled at any time by clients. If testing has not yet been completed, there will be no charge. If the assay has been completed a credit for that test will be generated to the client, and the patient report will display "Test canceled by physician" in the results field.

Additional testing requested by the client will be accommodated if sufficient and appropriate specimen remains. Requests must be made by the submitting client. All verbal orders must be followed by a written authorization submitted to the Client Services Department within one week. The requesting site may fax the written request if desired (585) 922-1111. Additional diagnostic information may be required for added tests.

Any referring physician may request that a test be repeated if the reported result is inconsistent with the patient's clinical profile. Such testing will be performed at no additional charge, as part of ViaHealth’s (Rochester General Hospital) Quality Assurance Program.

How can I request a test be performed STAT?
Rochester General Hospital offers some procedures on a STAT basis. For more information about our STAT services please contact the Client Services Department (585) 922-4451

How will I get the test results?
Patient test results are provided to clients in a number of ways. Clients with inquiry access can obtain on-line results as soon as they are released by testing personnel. Clients with remote site printers will obtain hard copy reports on a scheduled or call-up basis. Upon request, results will also be faxed, communicated by telephone, or transmitted to a remote printer upon completion. Hard copies of the reports are delivered by our couriers daily. STAT tests and those with results exceeding our laboratory defined critical values will be communicated as directed by the requesting site.
The Client Services Department is available for help in obtaining completed results, or for more comprehensive information such as interpretive or consultative guidelines.

NOTE: Some highly sensitive test results, such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus, are not, by policy, provided by phone or via printer. Please contact the Client Services Department for details about reporting of these test results.

I don’t know what department I want. Who do I contact?
Our Client Services Department is staffed with experienced Client Service Representatives who are dedicated to responding to your inquiries promptly and efficiently. Our Client Service Representatives are available to help you with requests for test results or test information, specimen collection and specimen transport, courier schedules, special service needs, and supply requests. Please call Client Service at (585) 922-1165. If you require specialized technical information or consultation, our service representatives will efficiently connect you with a member the technical staff.

As a dynamic provider of laboratory services, we are continually evaluating test methodologies and additions. Notification of new tests as well as changes to methodology, specimen requirements, and references ranges are provided through a number of publications. Connections as well as our Quarterly Newsletter, will feature these changes. Additionally, updates to the test will be provided to the Test Directory as changes are made to the testing database. This information available on line as well as in hard copy to each client.

Laboratory Collection Stations

How can I find the most convenient location?
Please see the Laboratory Collection Center section for the location nearest you.

Supplies/Courier Service

How do I order supplies?
Routine collection supplies required to submit specimens will be supplied by our laboratory. These supplies include test requisitions, specimen tubes and caps, specimen transport bags, mailing supplies, and specialized transport media. Supply requests are routinely filled and shipped via courier Monday through Friday.

Supplies can be ordered by:  submitting a supply requisition form with the courier, calling our Courier Department (585) 922-1165, or faxing to (585) 922-1166.  Click for Order Form

What supplies can Rochester General Hospital provide for my practice or facility?
Rochester General Hospital can provide items which are used in the collection and processing of samples which will be sent to us for testing. This would include items such as test tubes, plastic test tubes, collection devices and specimen transport containers. We comply with government regulations which do not allow certain items such as gloves to be provided by the laboratory. Please contact us if you have a question about specific items we can supply.

Does Rochester General Hospital provide safety collection devices?
Yes, Rochester General Hospital will be happy to provide the safety needles we have determined best meet the needs of our laboratory and employees. Should you determine that you would rather use another type of device, upon request, we will be happy to provide you OSHA guidelines before making your purchase.

How will the specimen get from the client or Laboratory Collection Station to the Laboratory?
Rochester General Hospital will provide transportation of patient specimens to our laboratories. Courier service is designed in consultation with each client, and can include arrangements for STAT services as required. Couriers receive detailed instruction on pre-analytical quality issues, and are equipped with temperature controlled and monitored transport devices. Couriers can also deliver requested supplies and reports. Please call our Courier Department (585) 922-1165 or Client Services Department (585) 922-4451 to arrange for courier service.

Regulatory Issues

Is the signature of the ordering physician required on a laboratory service requisition?
Referencing the following document -"Program Memorandum Carriers/Intermediaries - Transmittal AB-02-030" from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) dated March 5, 2002: "Medicare does not require the signature of the ordering physician on a laboratory service requisition. While the signature of a physician on a requisition is one way of documenting that the treating physician ordered the service, it is not the only permissible way of documenting that the service has been ordered. For example, the physician may document the ordering of specific services in the patient's medical record."

What is required on the specimen and the requisition prior to submitting it to the lab?
All specimens submitted to Rochester General Hospital must be properly labeled with the following:

  1. Patient's name (first and last)
  2. Unique identifier (medical record number, social security number etc)
  3. Name and location of person completing requisition
  4. Date and time of collection
  5. Phlebotomist's initials
  6. Tests to be performed
  7. Requesting physician

Test requisitions or manifests must include:

  1. Required patient demographic and insurance information (complete name, date of birth, sex, contract #, subscriber name, and relationship to the insured)
  2. Client account number and name 
  3. Required clinical information

NOTE: Additional information for billing may be required. Please see Billing Section.

In order to ensure optimum integrity of patient specimens, clients should follow the specimen processing and pre-transport storage guidelines outlined in this manual (see the alphabetic test listing). The couriers takes great care to maintain the conditions of storage throughout transport and distribution to the analyzing laboratory. Clients will be notified of inappropriately labeled specimens and specimens which are judged unsuitable for analysis.

Billing Questions

Where should I call if I have a billing question?
If you have questions about your outpatient laboratory bill call 922-1167.

Rather than calling, can I submit my question through e-mail?
Yes. By filling out our "Ask a Billing Question" form you can submit your questions to our billing department.

What hours are the best times to call?
Billing and compliance is open from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday.

Will Medicare pay for the tests?
Not all lab tests are paid for by Medicare. Some tests may be billed to the patient. These include:

  • Tests that are not considered necessary by Medicare for the patient's diagnosis or treatment.
  • Tests that are ordered as "screening" tests for routine physical exams where there is no evidence of disease.
  • Tests which are ordered more often than Medicare recommends.
  • Tests which are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because they are considered experimental or investigational.

Under what circumstances can a physician order these tests?

  • Medicare will pay for certain tests only if they are supported with the appropriate diagnosis provided by the physician.
  • The physician must provide a diagnosis code on the test requisition form.
  • Medicare has a list of predetermined covered conditions, i.e., diagnosis codes.

If Medicare will not pay for the test, is the test necessary?
The physician knows the clinical background of the patient and is best suited to make that determination. Tests are often ordered to screen for a variety of factors which may be used to assess the patient's health. Examples of these factors include personal, family, medications, or age-related concerns.

What is required if the test is not on Medicare's list of predetermined coverage conditions?
The patient will be asked to sign an Advance Beneficiary Notice if the diagnosis for the test ordered is not on Medicare's list of predetermined covered conditions. A signature is required in order for the laboratory to perform the test. A signature acknowledges that the patient may be billed for the test and that he or she agrees to pay should Medicare deny payment.

What is The Pathology Center's billing process?

  • The laboratory test will always be billed to Medicare prior to being billed to the patient.
  • The patient will be billed for the laboratory test only if Medicare denies payment.
  • The patient should contact Medicare if he or she believes the test should be covered.
  • If the patient is billed, the price will be the same as was billed to Medicare.
  • If the patient has supplementary insurance, the denied test may be covered under that policy. The patient should contact his or her supplementary insurance representative for assistance.

I don't understand my bill. Can anyone help me?
One of our Patient Service Representatives would be pleased to explain the detailed charges on your bill. We will also be able to advise you of any insurance claim filing options that may be available to you. Please call us at:

How do I get a refund?
If you are aware of a duplicate payment and have not already received a refund, please call one of our Patient Service Representatives.