Laboratory FAQs

Do I really need this test?

Providers only order lab tests they need to make a diagnosis or other decisions about your care. You have the right to refuse any test. However, as an informed patient, you should understand that not having test results may impact your provider's ability to care for you.

When will my results be ready?

Most routine tests are ready by the next day. Certain tests, such as blood counts, mono tests and urinalysis, can be ready in an hour or less, if the provider orders them on an urgent basis. Bacterial cultures take 24 hours to three days. Viral cultures can take three to 14 days. Pap smears and tissue biopsies take two to three weeks.

How can I get my results?

Lab results are given to the ordering provider and placed in your UHS medical record as soon as they're available. You must get the results from a provider or nurse, so they can answer questions about care and medications. The UHS lab is not allowed to release results directly to you.

To get your results, call the main UHS number, (413) 577-5000, and ask to leave a message with the clinic where your provider is located. To make a follow-up appointment, call (413) 577-5101.

Can the UHS lab do tests ordered by my home provider?

Sorry, no. The UHS lab can only perform tests ordered by a UHS provider. Your provider at home should not fax test orders to the UHS lab.

If you have written test orders from your home provider, but want to use the UHS lab, make an appointment with a UHS provider so your tests can be appropriately ordered.

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Do I have to pay for lab tests?

Lab tests are billed to your primary insurance; any uncovered deductibles are billed to you.

Will my blood test hurt?

Having blood drawn is a minimally invasive procedure taking less than a minute. Any pain is brief and, for most people, slight. For your comfort and relaxation we have you lie down on a lounger.

How much blood do you take?

The amount depends on the tests your provider orders. The amount usually ranges from five to 20 milliliters (a few teaspoons to a few tablespoons). In comparison, about 450 milliliters is taken when you donate blood.

Can I exercise after having blood drawn?

It’s best to postpone exercise or carrying heavy objects for the first hour or so after your venipuncture. You can remove your bandage at that point.

Do I need to fast?

Fasting means consuming nothing but water for 10 – 12 hours. The most commonly ordered tests requiring fasting are lipid panels, fasting blood sugar and triglycerides.

If you have questions about tests your provider has ordered, just ask!

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