Re: [Histonet] Re: Paper Bags

From:"Victoria Baker"

Hi Bob,

I really do think that many if not all managers share with their staff
the cost of supplies, reagents, general supplies and many of the other
direct costs associated with running a lab.  What you discuss about
the costs of these products isn't the whole picture though.  We have
to deal with the indirect costs of shipping, when it's chemical the
cost of disposal of the end product and other bio hazard materials.
Then there are the "built in costs", such as the amount your
department is charged for all orders placed through the purchasing
department - even if you place the order electronically, these are
only a few of the indirect or over head costs I've had to encounter
over the years.  Many times we don't really have as much of the
control we would like with our $$.  Some institutions will cover these
expenses under an operational budget that is separate to some extent,
but this isn't always true in academic/research/government.  It's sort
of grey area that affects your budget more than you might expect.  My
rule has always been if the lab needs it and it is going to directly
affect patient care I work to get it ordered and into the lab.
Sometimes I feel more like a horse trader than a manager when it comes
to vendors as I need the product, but I need to get it at the best
price I can find.  I might also add, that just because it's in their
catalog doesn't always mean they still carry the item.  With the
Thermo/Fisher "merge" some manufactures have been dropped or limited
in what will be distributed by them.

As to the nylon bags and biopsy pads, yes they work but not for
everything.  The paper biopsy bags provided the ability to capture
more of the small or friable tissue fragments.  I agree with Dawn on
everything she has said about the tea bags.  We currently cannot use
the mesh biopsy cassettes in our lab-but it's an excellent option that
I'd like to look into given the current circumstances.

I hope I haven't gotten myself into a flaming situation with what I
have said, but healthcare management is like a floating iceberg these
days - what you see above the water is a whole lot smaller than what
is under the water.

Vikki Baker
NIH/NCI/LP, Bethesda, Maryland

On 3/31/07,  wrote:
> Why would anyone want to use paper rather than the present-day nylon
> specimen bags?
> I recently looked at the Fisher Web site and was astonished to learn
> from the
> Web site, accessed a few days ago:
> biopsy bag 30 x 50 mm, Fisherbrand 15-182-116
> 500 bags for $228.17
> in contrast, Fisher offers biopsy foam pads, 22-038221
> 1000 rectangular pads for $73.91
> In other words, those nylon bags list at around 45 cents US each, while
> the little blue foam pads are around 7 cents each, or half that if you
> cut them in two as I usually do.
> Finding this out certainly made me change the way I use these two items
> - put small discrete biopsy specimens on blue pads (marked with a small
> drop of safranin solution), and reserve the bags for small curettage
> specimens, cell blocks, and things like that.
> I've used these two items in a good man pathology practices, but never
> knew the cost of them before, since catalogs are always locked up in
> the lab manager's office and not available to histotechnologists. Will
> some of you Good Managers enlighten me as to why it's Good Management
> Practice to have bench techs not know the cost of the items they work
> with?
> Bob Richmond
> Samurai Pathologist
> Knoxville TN
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