Cabell Huntington Hospital today announced that it is expanding lab services to include toxicology for drug screenings, confirmations and secondary analysis using different technology to identify specific drugs, their levels as well as other more minute aspects of the initial drug screening. This is significant not only in providing more timely and precise results, but also allows this important service be provided in West Virginia.
Currently, all drug testing confirmation in West Virginia is outsourced to vendors in a number of states; officials estimate that approximately $120-$140 million in health care costs is exported. With the addition of the new laboratory, those health care dollars will stay in the state.
The new toxicology lab, developed in collaboration with Marshall University's nationally recognized Forensics Science Graduate Program will assist tremendously in the region's response to the opioid epidemic by offering a full range of toxicology lab services.
"As a national leader who is addressing the opioid epidemic, we will be able to quickly confirm the presence and level of substances," said Kevin N. Fowler, president and CEO, Cabell Huntington Hospital. "As a commitment to this important service, we are expanding the lab staff to include toxicology and technicians specifically trained to use highly complex instrumentation which translates to better, more coordinated and timely testing."
James B. Becker, M.D., vice dean for government relations, health care policy & external affairs at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and a family medicine physician, said the new laboratory will be very beneficial to physicians, law enforcement and others.
"While we have long provided prompt screening, the addition of this service will dramatically improve the information available to clinicians and reduce the turn-around time on the testing," Becker said. "The service will also support the regional needs of our providers of medication assisted treatment. State-of-the-art technology will enable providers to identify drugs of abuse and also monitor compliance with treatment regimens."