ULS adding vaccines and COVID testing to mobile services
From quick responses to rapidly changing health care guidelines to bolstering staff to serve a massive increase in service requests, executives at Unique Lab Services guided their company through the pandemic challenges of 2020, emerging as the leader in providing in-home phlebotomy services.
Adapting to changing guidance from government and the medical community, Unique Lab Services focused on the shifting needs of an expanding patient base and delivering quality services, according to General Manager Jerry Beougher.  
“We’ve grown exponentially in the past six months,” says Beougher. “Nobody really wants to go to a lab for blood work. That’s probably true every day, but it’s especially been the case since the pandemic began. We provide a very safe alternative to typical labs.”  
He said that a mobile phlebotomy service is ideal for patients who are high risk, have no transportation, are homebound, or seek the safety and convenience of having their blood drawn at a location of their choice, whether that’s at home or another place.
Many patients with chronic conditions face recurring blood draws, he says, and their requirements can be especially challenging. If patients have autism, memory or cognitive impairments, behavioral challenges, or phobias, having bloodwork done in an environment where they are comfortable and having a technician with whom they’ve become familiar provides a safer and less stressful alternative. 
“Today’s medical landscape is a vast expanse of overcrowded hospitals and clinics, anxious patients concerned about their health and worried about the health of their families, friends and coworkers,” Beougher notes. “Many fear losing their incomes and being unable to pay their bills. Unique Lab Services can help quell some of this angst and frustration because our service is fully covered by Medicare and most insurances. And we never charge patients for covered services.” 
Unique Labs Services has nearly 70,000 patients in its database, a team of about 40 field and in-office phlebotomists – their seasoned technicians are professionally trained to take blood samples — and a patient support staff of about a dozen to serve patients in Maricopa County, Pinal County, Prescott, Prescott Valley, and Chino Valley. Unique Lab Services accepts all insurances.  
“We want to be a one-stop shop for patients and provide our services at their site of choice where they feel safe and relaxed,” Beougher says. “Our service provides minimal exposure, because only your phlebotomist comes into your home wearing proper PPE. This is a much safer alternative to sitting in a waiting room full of strangers.”  
Plans for this year include expanding throughout Arizona and to begin offering mobile COVID-19 testing (both antigen testing to see if a person is positive for the virus, and antibodies testing to determine if they have had it previously), flu shots, and COVID-19 vaccines. 
“Unique Lab Services has been an asset to my practice since 2014,” says Dr. Steven Weisman, a Scottsdale physician. “Our patients appreciate the convenience and safety of having their labs drawn from the comfort of their own home. Whether my patients don’t feel well, or they have a busy schedule, we can always rely on ULS to provide excellent phlebotomy services.”
Patients can either fax or email their doctor’s order to Unique Lab Services or the lab office can call a physician’s office to request the required order. Once Unique Lab Services has the order for blood work, the phlebotomist calls the patient the night before to introduce themselves. Patients can request a male or female technician. That scheduled phlebotomist will arrive to the patient’s home within 24 hours in a discreet, unmarked vehicle. 
For older patients with mobility issues or families who lack transportation, Unique Lab Services is essential to their health and well-being.  
“Our typical patients, before the pandemic, were usually 65 years and older,” Beougher says. “But now we are seeing patients from birth to end of life. We do draws on newborns to college students, anyone with compromised immune systems, and seniors who don’t want to risk their health and safety by going to a crowded clinic or medical office to get blood work.”  
Unique Lab Services also works with numerous medical providers, including cardiology medical groups because many heart patients use the blood-thinning drug coumadin as part of their treatment. Patients’ blood must be closely monitored when using this medication.  
Beougher says cardiologists and other medical offices that previously had on-site clinics for lab work, shut or restricted those facilities because of the pandemic, leaving thousands of patients needing another option for regular lab work.
In addition to going into patients’ homes, Unique Lab Services and its team of phlebotomists can set up services at senior communities.  
“Unique Lab Services bridged that gap. When we go to a location, we can provide service to 20-30 patients in just a half hour,” he says. “Immediately after we get your blood sample, we take it to the lab so your physician can get your results as quickly as possible.”