March 2, 2011

Metropolitan Medical Laboratory: Nearing a Century of Service to the Quad City Medical Community

Submited By Kathryn Graham
Metropolitan Medical Laboratory

The year was 1914. World War I began with an assassination in Europe. The Panama Canal opened after 10 years of incredible human effort. Charlie Chaplin’s film career was just beginning. Woodrow Wilson was President. The cost of a first-class postage stamp was a mere two cents. And a 26 year-old Quad City physician by the name of Dr. Frederick Howe Lamb began a study of the essential nature of diseases that would result in the introduction of Pathology as a medical specialty in this country.

Back in 1914, the field of laboratory medicine was in a very early stage. A well-stocked laboratory included little more than a microscope, some glass beakers, and a few test tubes. Working with St. Luke’s and Mercy Hospitals in Davenport and St. Anthony’s Hospital in Rock Island, Dr. Lamb offered a set of standardized instrumentation and procedures that helped to introduce Anatomic and Clinical Pathology to the Twentieth Century.

Dr. Lamb later became a founding father and president of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP), an original trustee and vice president of the American Board of Pathology, and a founding fellow of the College of American Pathologists (CAP). His individual efforts to establish conformity with regard to the practice of laboratory medicine became an accepted approach with local medical professionals and eventually grew into the 520-employee Quad City-based company we know today as Metropolitan Medical Laboratory.

Dr. Lamb’s original clinical roster featured a menu of 12 tests. Today, Metro Lab performs over 1,600 different patient tests and provides its 5,500 ordering clients with over 6.5 million test results for the 230,000 patients seen every year. Testing is provided in the areas of Hematology, Serology, Urinalysis, Cytology, Histology, Chemistry, Microbiology, Toxicology, Immunology, and Molecular Biology.

Approximately 90 percent of all Quad City physicians and veterinarians send their patient samples to Metro Lab for testing and analysis. The end-product of this testing provides 70 percent of the objective information used by doctors to make diagnostic decisions. The staff at Metro is proud of the part they all play in helping local physicians determine the cause of a patient’s symptoms, which can then lead to a more focused and detailed plan of treatment, and eventually to a resolution of those symptoms and a cure for the patient’s

Metro is staffed by 17 Pathologists, making it one of the largest privately-owned Pathologist groups in the United States. Each Pathologist is certified by the American Board of Pathology and many of them have sub-specialty certifications. A number of the Pathologists have fellowship training, all are adept at processing frozen sections for lab analysis, and many of them have published articles regarding anatomic and clinical disease processes.

Laboratory services are provided for Trinity Medical Center sites in Moline, Rock Island, and Bettendorf and for both Davenport campuses of Genesis Medical Center Metro also staffs walk-in clinics in Davenport, Bettendorf, and Moline in addition to serving clients in Muscatine and Galesburg. In January of this year, Metro opened its newest Patient Service Center at 685 Avenue of the Cities in Silvis.

Metro is a contracted provider for Medicare, Medicaid, and 99.5 percent of all private insurance carriers. They also process secondary health insurance claims. The Information Technology Department is able to interface with any Electronic Medical Record system. Metro Couriers drive over one million miles a year – and have better safety records than UPS or Federal Express.

Metro’s Phlebotomists, Medical Technologists, Specimen Processors, Laboratory Assistants, Cytologists, Histologists, Client Service Associates, Extended Care Associates, Medical Transcriptionists, Insurance Specialists, and Pathologists all work under a mission statement that stresses value to the customer, quality to the patient, and years of continuous service to the community. Through those guiding principles, Dr. Lamb’s legacy lives on and Metro Lab continues its success as one of the shining stars in the Quad City health-care community.