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Genova Diagnostics


Heavy-handed prepayment

Complaint Rating:  92 % with 49 votes
92% 49
Contact information:
Genova Diagnostics
North Carolina
United States
A few months back I was treated by a physician and had several blood tests performed. At the time of that visit, he had explained there would be a $149 out-of-pocket expense for some testing, and I was given materials needed for submitting 4 timed saliva and urine samples - along with paperwork showing prepayment of $149.

Between my husband being out of work for over two years and myself now out on unpaid medical leave, I chose not to pursue that part of the testing. All other blood work would be covered, if not in full, at least substantially. I have excellent coverage through Brigham and Women's Hospital.

I eventually received a bill from Genova Diagnostics for approximately $650. I wrote back twice, providing all insurance information, informing them of my financial situation and respectfully requested they bill my insurance carrier. I am, of course, willing to pay any copayment due, as I do consider that my responsibility.

Despite much back-and-forth communication, Genova Diagnostics refuses to bill my insurance plan until I submit payment of $149 - because that is their policy according to their "PayAssurance" plan. I never signed any paperwork with Genova Diagnostics agreeing to participate in this "PayAssurance" plan.

Although I had said I would pay in installments on this unagreed upon, they are demanding payment before the end of this month. Hey, who needs to eat, never mind having some small holiday celebration during this difficult time.

I find their heavy-handed collection practice dispicably greedy. Would it really have hindered them to bill my insurance prior to lining their pockets even further? Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and Brigham and Women's Hospital (Boston) are reputable organizations.

I wonder why they changed their name from Great Smokies Diagnostic Lab. Could it possibly have been because of a bad reputation? I do not know, but would not be surprised.
Complaint comments Comments (20) Complaint country United States Complaint category Unauthorized Charges


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D  15th of Feb, 2011 by    0 Votes
I am having trouble following your complaint. Did you not state that you chose not to have the testing by Genova labs done? Did you do the test and mail it in? If so, then you certainly are responsible for paying for them. If you didn't have testing done, then I agree; you should not have been billed, so which happened? it would seem that if they have your name at all, it would be because you had the testing done. I'd hate for someone to shy away from this lab if your real complaint is about your financial state, and not the lab itself.

I have used Genova, both recently (for myself and two children) and used them twice when they were Great Smokie Labs. They do functional testing, which SHOULD be done by all doctors, but isn't and isn't coved by most insurance companies. That is not the fault of Genova or other labs like them. It is the fault of having a pathology based medical system. I was first suspected of having a malabsorption condition when I was in first grade. I had all the symptoms then and have continued to my entire life. It took me 50 years of asking and asking and asking for tests for this, and being denied by doctors before I found one who does functional testing. By then, I had two children with the same problem, and have had several relatives die from illnesses that are logically traced to malabsorption. Genova has helped me finallly get a diagnosis and make the discovery that my family has a genetic mutation that does not allow us to digest protein. Like you, I was asked to pay my share of testing upfront, and while the copay is a bit expensive, it's not out of line. My son just had traditional labs, which ran over 700.00. When I consider the hundreds of thousands of dollars ( probably millions) I have spent on health care in my life, because doctors refused to properly test me, and when I look at my poor state of health now, Genova labs is a screaming bargain.
If I misunderstand your compaint, plese clarify. Otherwise, I would hate for someone to think this lab is a ripoff just because your reral complaint is you couldn't afford it.
N  15th of Feb, 2011 by    +2 Votes
The odd typo's in the above post, where extra characters are in words like "didn't" was done by this website. They were not in my text until I submitted my comment. i apologize if this is confusing, or looks like I am swearing, but there appears to be no way to edit.
A  16th of Mar, 2011 by    0 Votes
I used to work for Genova. Most of their tests are a useless waste of money and don't show anything that is clinically relevant. Because MOST insurance companies do not consider most of their tests to be clinically or diagnostically useful, they push really hard to get the up front payment before they submit to the insurance company only to get turned down for additional payment. Their billing and collections department works very hard and seems unhappy and depressed. Some of their tests are useful but they really push over-testing to physicians who have no idea what the test results mean. Their doctor education staff is made up of Chiropractors and Naturopathic Physicians with LITTLE to ZERO post graduation training and LITTLE to ZERO clinical experience or clinical teaching experience and these are the ones educating the MDs on whta the tests do and how to interpret them. So patients are ultimately getting these pretty bright colored 50 page reports which are confusing to the patient and the doctor and just do not give any information which leads to better outcomes. They also push "functional anti-aging" medicine with a big emphasis on topical creams with plant based hormones and basically blame every medical problem on hormone imbalances. I have to agree with the poster and say she barely touched the tip fo the iceburg when it comes to this company's problems. Unfortunately, "anti-aging" medicine is where the money is and the docs are raking in huge buckets of cash with these tests as is Genova.
D  18th of Mar, 2011 by    0 Votes
Tenn Girl,
You do not state what your capacity was with this company, nor your medical training (if any). I would guess, from your comments, that it was in billing, which would not, IMO, qualify you to judge the company's medical qualifications. Please correct me if I am wrong, and then truthfully state what the medical qualifications are of their staff, because I searched online and found several websits that contradict your statements.

I gather you do not understand is that Genova tests are more sensitive and intensive than those of standard testing facilities. That does make them more expensive, and that, not their not being diagnostically useful, is why
most insurance companies don't pay for them. In fact, most med schools are now training students in functional medicine because it is widely considered to be the next big thing.

For some people, standard tests do not catch our medical problems until
the problem is advanced, and sometimes terminal. This has been true for
my family (including cousins, aunts and grandfather) . We have a
congenital problem with metabolism, probably of proteins and fats, that
my doctor is working with Genova to sort out. We've already had members
of our family die, and one currently has advsnced to having Alzheimers
caused by this. No doctor in 55 years has caught this. My school nurse in first grade staked her job on a belief that my brother and I had malabsorption problems, but was dismissed by our family physician. It has taken not only me, but dozens of relatives, decades to find a doctor and a lab that would dig deeper. I went from having EKG s so bad that I was told I was not expected to live, to no atrial fibriallation, on light antiarrythmic, which works (when nothing else did) only because of the supplements my doctor prescribed, based on micronutrient tests.

I began studying all of my family's disorders because my extreme EKG's did not match my perfect blood panels. A nurse told me not to accept what doctors were telling me ( that it was stress, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and depression - all the garbage dx's that doctors with no training in nutrition hang on sick people). I googled all my family's disorders together and discovered the common bond was glutamates. I then studied what causes glutamates to go haywire, especially in people who avoid food additives (glutamates are hidden in names like MSG, Hydrolized protein, natural flavorings spices, etc etc). Further resarch (of medical studies) of these illnesses confirmed that excess glutamates are thought (and in same cases proven) to cause various illnesses (which are then treated with glutamate blockers, so the pharmaceutical companies profit, when a diet change or better, regulation of food additives would be better). I also learned that deficiencies in several key nutrients can decreasae a body's natural protection aganist glutamate excess. I then found an MD who is trained in nutrtion as well as general medicine, and who offers micronutrient testing. My tests showed high levels of glutamate and very low levels of a number of nuttients. My children's test results were similar. We eat healthier than average diets, so my diet does not explain why this would be so, nor why my athletic family who live around the world and eat all sorts of diets, would suff from the same illnesses I do.

Great Smokie labs (Genova's original name) and Genova have been recommended to me by the very best doctors I and my children have had over the years. Great Smokie did allergy testing on my children years ago, and it was dramatically more useful than the ridiculous testing I had through traditional labs. The doctors who recommend this lab are the ones who have spent the most time during visits and who have exhibited curiosity about our perplexing health issues. The doctors who have shrugged off my requests for intensive labwork are the laziest ones and the most likely to tell me it is one of the garbage dx's.

Nonetheless, after reading your complaint, I spent a couple of hours researching, looking for sanctions against this lab, or other valid complaints. I found none, but I did find evidence that contradicts your claims. Genova has done testing for the Mayo Clinic and other big name medical facilities. If they are not legitimate, why would they be the lab of choice for such places?

Your description of medical staff at Genova does not match up with what I found online ( on many websites). The medical director of is Dr.Patrick Hanaway, a board certified family physician with an active practise. He also has a Bachelors degree in molecular biology, and has done research in muscle biology, neurochemistry, lipid metabolism, public health, preventive medicine, immunology, digestion, and nutrition. Why didn't you mention him?

I am urgently looking for health answers that medicine has failed to give not only me, but dozens of family members for decades. It is time that the medical field approached health from the source, instead of from pathology. I took the reins in my own health and am guiding family in doing the same. The biggest block we have run up against is ignorance and greed based nonsense. You present insurance and pharmaceutical driven medicine as appropriate, caring and superior, when it is nothing of the kind. You defend and promote this very self serving industry, while at the very same time, claiming a company like Genova has no right to profit from their work. You judge one as honest and the other as dishonest, clearly without any knowledge of either one - just sour grapes over a job you apparently lost.

I came here loking for legitimate complaints against this company, because that is one of the ways I decide who to trust. So far, all I have found is two people who appear to have made things up in order to discredit this company. What theheck is that about? Obviously money and work ethic This company has the potential to save lives other labs aren't bothering to save. Presumably they have done tha tmany times. Why the frivolous complaints, just because you don't like how hard they expected you to work ( they are known for their high standards - that should have tipped you off before you took the job).

If you have a legitimate complaint against this company, about a subject in which you are knowledgable and if you can articulate it; giving concrete information, than bring it on. Otherwise, for the sake of people coming here as part of their quest for good health, you need to apologize.

Genova has never pushed - indeed, never suggested hormonal testing. What they did, after meeting with my doctor, is suggest the micronutrient tests be repeated, on their dime, to make sure no mistwke was made.
D  4th of Jun, 2013 by    0 Votes
My son was diagnosed to be on the Autism spectrum and had all of his labwork done through Genova because his regular "mainstream" doctor insisted that Ritalin was going to solve all of his problems. They were getting paid to push prescriptions. I disagreed and sought the help of a holistic provider that wanted to look at the cause, and not treat the symptoms. Thanks to Genova, we discovered multiple underlying issues including malabsorption, vitamin deficiencies, immune system defiency, food intolerances, and other issues that explained what was going on inside his body. Mainstream doctors will not run these tests because they would rather push prescriptions that band-aid the issue and do not acurately address the causes of health issues. There is a time and a place for these tests and I fully support what Genova does. It helped my son turn his health around and lead a fuller life. You can't put a price tag on your health.
D  9th of Oct, 2013 by    +2 Votes
The problem with Genova as I have now found out, is that when you pay your $99 they do not give you any additional information regarding the costs of your testing. Next thing you know you have a $1500 bill for tests that were USELESS! I am currently looking in to sending off our issue to as many regulatory and federal agencies as possible. While this lab can continue to run their testing, they could also let you know what the PRICE is and what else they are doing other than the ONE stool test you paid for up front. I can not and would not EVER agree to an extra 1500 for lab testing when I have great insurance that would have covered an in-network facility to do many of the tests that they are now overcharging me for.
N  18th of Aug, 2014 by    +1 Votes
Hey my insurance covered some of test and I paid a co-payment of 250.00, and they sent me a bill for 3800.00... my doctor Ismael Mena DO, told me that my insurance would cover some of the tests and my co-payment would cover the rest. His nurse told me that they would be sending me a bill for extra test, and to not pay them for this. They sent me bills for awhile and then sent it to collection. I even sent the collection agencies copies of my EOB...but they are still trying...do not let yourself take any test from this company until you know what they are testing for...
A  19th of Aug, 2014 by    0 Votes
I had testing done through Genova also and they quoted me $144 to pay up front and this will be payment in full. I now am in collections for $548 due to I put down that I have Bcbs and they are asking for an eob from Bcbs. My bc denied the lab work as not covered. I told them this from the start that my lab will not be covered and they said not to worry about it. My bill was paid in full. I don't know if this will affect my credit??
N  24th of Aug, 2014 by    0 Votes
I am trying to decide whether to do testing with Genova or not. For those of you who have found the cause for your symptoms through Genova, have you been able to ascertain exactly how to treat your condition? And if you are treating your condition, is it getting better?
N  27th of Aug, 2014 by    0 Votes
I called about the $650 bill I got from them after paying the $99 and my insurance company paying out something like $200. They told me that they are obligated by the insurance company to send a bill for the remaining unpaid amount but that I did have to pay the bill. I was told that they send out two notices and that I should ignore them and that they do not send people to collections. It seems like it is a formality. As to weather the test helped, it did help me figure out what was and wasn't going on in my gut. From this information my doctor was able to set up a plan for helping me heal the things that are wrong. The test were even able to tell me which pharmaceuticals and botanical were sensitive and resistant for my specific fungal overgrowth. That seems pretty helpful. So if you are on the fence and can afford the up front fee I would say it's worth a try! Just make sure you are seeing a doctor who can help you figure out what all the information means.
A  10th of Aug, 2015 by    +1 Votes
My doctor instructed me to pay the inital $179 "easy billing" option and told me I would not be responsible for further charges. I got a bill later for more than $1500, which according to Genova, I am now responsible for. I paid this because I do not want to go to collections and ruin my credit standing, but I will not be doing any further tests with Genova.
A  1st of Sep, 2015 by    0 Votes
These people are such of sharks, they will keep sending you more and more bills, and trying to get as much money as they could from you. I won't recommend anyone doing any business with them, and I won' t do further business with them.
N  12th of Nov, 2015 by    +1 Votes
I'd like to give them credit and say maybe they do provide a valuable service but PLEASE BE CAREFUL!!! Get in writing the TESTS THEY ARE GOING TO DO and THE PRICE THEY WILL CHARGE BEFORE you sign up for this. Like so many other posters here (and on other internet sites) we just trusted our ND, agreed to the testing (after our ND assured us that the out of pocket expense would only be $150). Turns out, our bill is $2700--and our insurance covers nothing. Absolutely ridiculous as the only test we wanted could have easily been done at our in-network lab for virtually nothing. Lesson learned---always do your own research and get details in WRITING!!! If something isn't 100% crystal clear, don't sign up for it with this company or you will be turning over your life savings to them. I only hope by posting here I can help to save someone else the frustration that we are currently going through. Now I'm off to work to do overtime to pay this stupid bill...I'd like to ignore the bill but I've heard they have a ruthless collections agency and I'm simply not in the mood to deal with that...maybe someone else will have the courage to stand up to these people for the benefit of us all!!!
N  21st of May, 2016 by    0 Votes
I received a large bill from Genova, so I emailed their billing department after they sent a letter threatening collection action (my doctor had told me to ignore the bills). If you receive a reimbursement check from your insurance company with regard to the testing, you must in turn pay that amount to Genova. They told me that once that payment was made, my account would be settled - even though the insurance payment covers only about half of the total bill. I'll post an update if I have any issues in the future.
N  9th of Jan, 2017 by    +2 Votes
Genova's billing system is really complicated but this is mostly due to insurance companies. Since they're out of network for most insurance companies, if they billed to your insurance and then billed you the rest, you'd be paying for most of the test. Some of these tests cost thousands of dollars. That's why they have an "EzPay" program that let's people pay a very small portion of the test upfront and then they bill the insurance and take whatever the insurance gives them. Sometimes that's a lot, sometimes the insurance doesn't pay a dime. If your insurance pays for everything (not likely) or they get so much from your insurance that the insurance payment + your EzPay amount = more than the list price of the test (again unlikely) they refund the balance.

It's a confusing system but it's actually one that makes tests affordable for people. Unfortunately, it's frustrating for patients who are trying to wrap around their heads around this complicated billing system because the insurance companies require Genova to make 2 "good faith efforts" to collect the balance of what insurance doesn't cover. They send these on yellow statements. If you're anything like me, if you get a bill in the mail for $2, 000 you're gonna freak out no matter what color paper it's on and it doesn't make sense to ignore it. However, if you get a bill from Genova on YELLOW paper, then that means that is what the insurance didn't cover and what you'd normally be on the hook for, but since you made that EzPay prepayment, you don't have to make that payment. Their reps can't tell you not to pay it, which makes it even more frustrating for customers who call in and feel like the rep is evading giving them a direct answer (which they are because they legally have to).

If you get a BLUE statement that means it's a real bill and there's some sort of issue involved. Either you didn't end up enrolling in the EzPay program by paying that amount up front and you're being balanced billed for what insurance didn't cover, the insurance company sent you a check for the procedure and Genova needs it since it's rightfully theirs, or Genova needs a copy of your EOB (explanation of benefits) in order to find out exactly what your insurance covered and write off the remaining balance. Since they're out of network, some insurance companies don't send them a check or EOB, and they need that to figure out how things were applied to balance their books. In short, YELLOW STATEMENTS can be ignored, BLUE STATEMENTS are an issue that would send you to collections if you didn't pay. It's really convoluted--but that's insurance companies and medical stuff for you.
N  5th of Jul, 2017 by    +1 Votes
@medicalsal This was so helpful. Just got a $600 bill and was livid.
N  16th of Sep, 2017 by    0 Votes
@medicalsal Great information. I just got a yellow bill from them, having paid the EasyPay of $189.00 upfront. My insurance has paid $1911. out of $2806, and the bill is for $340. which I know now I don't need to pay. Genova really needs to provide better information about billing--this is the bottom line.
N  8 hrs 41 mins ago by    0 Votes
@medicalsal I really hope this is true...bc i cant afford a $1900 bill but done want to be sent to collections either!! Thank you for posting this ...I will wait (I guess) to see if I get a collections threat. If I do, I guess I will call them and try to work out a payment plan!??? My bill is all yellow BTW
N  5th of Apr, 2017 by    +1 Votes
This was exactly the experience I had approximately 3 weeks ago with a Customer Service representative from the billing department. He said I could pay it and he'd take my credit card payment and then said I didn't have to pay it. I tried to understand what he meant; he told me they've already received money from my insurance company (~$2300.00) and I paid the EZPay amount up front of $219.00. The balance of $420.00 was posted on a YELLOW bill as well. He said it would NOT go to collections (I asked him twice) and I would get a second bill 3 weeks later (just received the second bill, on YELLOW paper). From my understanding, I already paid what I'm supposed to with the EZPay amount and my health insurance stepped in for quite a lot.
I'm going to sit tight for a bit with this second bill to see if 1)I get another or 2)collections comes calling.
N  5th of Apr, 2017 by    0 Votes
Hm.. my physician just gave me yesterday a test kit for Comprehensive stool analysis. It's a schedule A with $129 pre-payment by check. This test is very important for me, but not sure now if I should do it after reading these horror stories.

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North Carolina
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