Longview analytic lab opens in Salmon Creek

Vancouver-based Northwest Medical Analytic Laboratory has opened its first draw station in Vancouver at 14508 N.E. 20th Ave. in Vancouver, on the bottom floor of the University Plaza at Salmon Creek.

Northwest Medical Analytic Laboratory was formed in 2006 with two offices in Longview, and is a division of Lower Columbia Pathologists, which opened in Longview in 1954 and is owned by five local board-certified pathologists.

The network has several draw stations across the region – and the local ties are part of what has made it possible for the company to grow, said NMAL General Manager Kim Gilmore.

“When we look to expand our market, we look at the value we can bring from the patient care perspective,” she said. “A lot of our physicians have expanded down to Salmon Creek, and we felt like we had something to offer patients there.”

Because testing is done at the site or in Longview, 86 percent of the test results are to physicians in about two hours. Plus, most patients are able to be in and out of a draw site in 10 minutes, Gilmore said.

Some national labs may fly samples to Texas, California or to the Midwest for testing.

“One of the huge advantages we have is that if physicians have a question about a test they want to order or about results, they can speak to a pathologist directly, who can then talk to a lab technician within minutes,” she said. “That is not always the case.”

Lower Columbia Pathologists employs about 65 people company-wide, and there is one person currently staffing the new Salmon Creek draw station.

The laboratory has contracts with most insurance carriers in the region, bills them directly and accepts Medicare assignment. This creates less confusion and wasted time for physicians and their staff, Gilmore said.

In addition to serving area doctors, NMAL offers walk-in services without a referral for PSA, cholesterol, lead toxicity and blood glucose testing.

“One thing patients don’t always know is that you do have a choice of where you go,” Gilmore said. “You have a choice in your referring physician and where your lab work is sent.”

Megan Patrick can be reached at mpatrick@vbjusa.com.