Our Lab Testing Process
Functional Medicine Lab Tests
Most of our lab testing is done by specialized out-of-state laboratories. I always discuss costs and benefits of each test before we decide. Specimens may be urine, stool, saliva, and/or serum or whole blood, or in some cases a “fingerstick” blood specimen that you can do at home.
I order these tests online for you, usually from the “Rupa Health” lab-coordinating service, which will send you an invoice to pay online. When paid, the lab is notified to send you the special specimen-collecting kit, with prepaid return-shipping. (Specialized labs are generally not in insurance networks, but after the test has been completed, you can ask the Rupa website to send you a lab billing slip (“Super Bill”) with the relevant lab billing codes to submit to your insurance.)
Be sure to follow all specimen-collecting directions carefully to avoid invalidating the results. (Do it right the first time!) Fasting specimens must be obtained in early AM (later in the day is not the same “fasting” for test purposes). Hormone tests must be done during the specified days of a menstrual cycle if cycling (such as within days 18-22); note which menstrual day it was for later interpretation purposes, because the lab doesn’t track this.
Remember that lab specimens are time- and temperature-sensitive. Plan ahead for what day(s) you will collect your specimens, and ship on the same day (not the day before a weekend or holiday where it may spoil on a loading dock in the hot sun). Keep it refrigerated if directed until shipping. If a frozen “brick” is needed, be sure to freeze it overnight before collecting, and include it in the specimen box. Be sure your requisition form is filled out properly and put into the specimen box. Be sure all specimen containers are properly labeled with patient name, date & time. Seal the box and apply the prepaid shipping label.
If you drop off to FedEx or UPS, take it to the station near the end of the day before their pickup goes to the airport. Hand your box to the FedEx or UPS agent before 5 PM (weekdays), rather than to a truck driver or tossing into a bin. (Verify that it will go out “today”, not held overnight.)
Blood-tube specimens are shipped to the lab by the drawing station, but give them your requisition and test kit. (Quest or LabCorp use their own test kit supplies, but they don’t draw other labs’ specimens.)