Hospital Pathologist & Lab Services
A pathologist is a medical doctor that specialized in diseases and how it affects tissues and fluids in the human body. The Pathology Group (TPG) is an all-inclusive pathology practice based in Grand Junction, Colorado that performs and interprets clinical laboratory tests and also analyzes tissue samples and fluids for disease processes such as cancer, benign tumors, infections and immune disorders. TPG is the provider for pathology services for Community Hospital and the Grand Junction Veterans Affairs Medical Center. We provide not only general pathology and laboratory services but also have the only two subspecialty board certified pathologists in Western Colorado which includes Dean Havlik, MD (subspecialty certification in forensic pathology) and Katherine Phillips, MD (subspecialty certification in cytopathology).
Laboratory direction is one of the many important fields of services provided by TPG. Dr. Havlik is the laboratory director for the College American Pathologists accredited laboratory at Community Hospital and Dr. Phillips is the laboratory director for the full service laboratory at the Grand Junction Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center. Drs. Havlik and Phillips have hospital privileges at both hospitals. The pathologists and staff at TPG pride themselves on always being available to the physicians and their office staff. Pathologists have long been considered the “doctor’s doctor” and with this mission we are here to serve the physicians and help manage their patient’s laboratory and pathology needs. We are able to accommodate and diagnose essentially any biopsy, large tissue specimen or body fluid specimen. We have a fast turnaround time with the majority of specimens having the diagnosis completed within 24 hours from the time of receipt into our laboratory.
Hospital Pathologist | Services | Grand Junction, CO
- Dermatopathology Skin Biopsy Interpretation
- Gynecologic Pathology
- ENT and Oral Pathology
- Breast Pathology
- Gastrointestinal Pathology
- Respiratory Pathology
- Urologic Pathology
- Orthopedic / Podiatric Pathology
- Soft Tissue Pathology
- Oncologic Pathology
- Forensic Pathology
- Performance and Interpretation of Bone Marrow Aspiration and Biopsies
In-Network Provider for the following companies
- Anthem BCBS
- Colorado State Medicaid
- Rocky Mountain Health Plans
- United HealthCare
- UMR (United Medical Resources)
- Worker’s Compensation (multiple plans)
*The Pathology Group is happy to bill any health insurance company on behalf of our patients. However, we have no control over how those claims are processed and are under no contractual obligation to accept their offered payment as full payment of the claim.
**Patients who participate in HealthShare programs are considered self-pay patients. We are happy to provide billing information for the patient to submit their claim to their HealthShare for direct reimbursement to the patient.
Hospital Pathology Frequently Asked Questions
What is pathology and what is a pathologist?
Pathology is the study of disease in tissues and body fluids. A pathologist is a medical doctor that after medical school does specialty residency training in pathology. A pathologist is considered an expert in how disease affects human tissues and body fluids. They are the doctors that interpret tissue and fluid specimens to determine if they represent cancer or other disease processes such as infection, immune disorders or other benign diseases. A pathologist also often directs laboratories, most commonly hospital laboratories, and are considered experts in managing and interpreting laboratory results.
How does one become a pathologist?
Just like with any medical doctor, after receiving an undergraduate degree from a university or college, a pathologist must attend medical school and earn their medical degree. Pathology is a specialty that one does a residency for after medical school. The pathology residency is typically 4 to 5 years and included intense study in both laboratory medicine (clinical laboratory tests) and anatomic pathology (tissue and body fluid diagnosis). After the successful completion of the residency program, board certification becomes important which involves an examination that must be passed. Most hospitals and private groups require board certification in order to be on staff. Some pathologists pursue subspecialty certification. There are several subspecialty programs including forensic pathology, cytopathology, dermatopathology, neuropathology, transfusion medicine and hematopathology.
Where does a pathologist work?
Often a pathologist will either be an employee of a hospital or operate under a private practice setting. The private practice pathologist has contracts with hospitals and other health care facilities in order to provide lab director services and/or serve as their anatomic pathology resource. Certain subspecialty pathologists may work in different environments. For example, forensic pathologists often work as government employees in a medical examiner setting and some transfusion medicine pathologists will work for blood banking organizations.
Why do I get a bill from both the pathology office and the hospital?
Like many pathology practices, The Pathology Group has a contract with hospitals. The hospital provides the “technical” component of the procedure which means employees of the hospital prepare the tissue or body fluid to be examined by the pathologists for the interpretation. For example, if a skin biopsy is performed at a doctor’s office and the biopsy is sent to the hospital and TPG for preparation and interpretation, the hospital will prepare that tissue sample to be put on glass slides and the pathologist will then interpret those slides under the microscope in order to determine if the tissue removed represents cancer or some other disease process. This will ultimately generate two bills, one from the hospital for the preparation (the “technical component”) and the other from The Pathology Group for the interpretation (the “professional component”).
Do I have a choice of pathology practices or hospitals where to send my biopsy sample, fluid sample or Pap?
Yes, for the most part, the patient controls their own body samples and they can choose to send their sample to whatever hospital or practice they wish. However, there are some instances where a pathology practice has a contract with an institution and based on the contract if a patient has a procedure at a facility in which the pathology practice has an exclusive contract, the sample must be sent to that practice.
Where can I get my pathology results?
Your pathology results will be sent to your physician at the time they are completed. The turnaround time for most tissue or body fluid samples is 24 hours or less from the time they are received in our laboratory but in some instances the results may take longer especially if special studies such as if special staining procedures need to be completed.
If my family member dies in the hospital, can I ask for an autopsy?
Yes, the contract a pathology practice has with the hospital often times includes the performance of autopsies for the patient’s that die after they have been admitted to the hospital for more than 24 hours. The Pathology Group’s contract with both Community Hospital and the Grand Junction Veterans Affairs Medical Center includes the performance of autopsies for these facilities. Please contact your loved ones physicians or our group if you are looking for information on autopsy examination.
PATHOLOGISTS & LABORATORY PROFESSIONALS
Dean Havlik, MD
Dr. Havlik is board certified in anatomic pathology, clinical pathology and forensic pathology. He is the laboratory director at Community Hospital in Grand Junction, CO where he has been practicing pathology since 2001. Dr. Havlik went to undergraduate school at Arizona State University, medical school at Medical College of Pennsylvania and completed his pathology training at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center. He completed a 1 year neuropathology fellowship after his general pathology training and then completed a forensic pathology fellowship at the Office of the Medical Investigator in Albuquerque, NM. Dr. Havlik’s special interests relate to both hospital and forensic pathology.
Katherine Phillips, MD
Dr. Phillips is board certified in anatomic pathology, clinical pathology and cytopathology. She came to our group in 2016, brings her expertise in cytopathology and is the laboratory director at the Grand Junction Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Dr. Phillips went to undergraduate school at Florida State University, medical school at University of Florida College of Medicine and completed both her general pathology training and cytopathology fellowship at the University of Florida College of Medicine. Dr. Phillip’s special interests are surgical pathology and cytopathology.
John Hegstrom, MD
Dr. Hegstrom brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our practice. He has been with our group since 2015. He previously had practiced pathology for many years in Colorado Springs. Dr. Hegstrom is board certified in anatomic pathology and clinical pathology and currently works with our group on a part-time basis. He has special interests in breast pathology and renal pathology.
Kathy Stern, Joni Myers and Raelynn Tempel: Our three account professionals have all been with our group for a number of years. Joni has been a trusted employee since 2008 and has specialties in coding, billing and accounts receivable. Kathy came to us in 2009 and specializes in insurance billing and accounts receivable. Coding and billing are Raelynn’s specialties and we were honored to have her join us in 2015. Our account professionals are responsive and available to help with any questions that may arise.
Tara Jochim, HTL; Ginger Sprague, HT; Amber Pruitt, HTL; Kate Bowman
Our histology staff are top-notch. The histologists are the professionals who are responsible for processing the tissue specimens and ensuring quality slide preparations are generated for the pathologists to review. Good histology is of the upmost importance and having an outstanding histology staff can’t be overemphasized.
Several laboratory professionals at Community Hospital provide services to The Pathology Group in all the fields of laboratory medicine including microbiology, general chemistry, specialty chemistry, molecular, serology and transfusion medicine. The team at Community Hospital provides a valuable service to The Pathology Group.
Forensic pathology services are provided by key members of our team. Dean Havlik, MD is a board certified forensic pathologist who completed his forensics training at one of the most prestigious training programs in the nation (Office of the Medical Investigator in Albuquerque, NM). Dr. Havlik is well trained in experienced in all aspects of forensic pathology. Three autopsy pathology assistants are invaluable to the practice and they are Chuck Nelson, Ginger Sprague and Amber Pruitt. These assistants are responsible for making the autopsy process run smoothly and efficiently.
Chuck has been with our office for several years. He has a background and emergency medical services and has been certified as an investigator with the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators. He has the knowledge and skills to perform expert death scene investigations and has been involved with hundreds of these types of investigations. He is also a seasoned autopsy assistant and has experience in all the usual autopsy assistant procedures. Chuck’s communications skills with the families and loved ones of the decedent’s we interact with are one of his many strong points. Chuck is very professional, kind, compassionate, works hard and is a very valuable staff member.
Amber Pruitt, HTL
Amber is both a valued member in our histotechnology department and as an autopsy assistant. She came to us from Utah a few years ago and she provides her skills in all aspects of histology including gross examination of biopsy specimens, embedding of tissue specimens, sectioning and staining. One of Amber’s specialties’ is safety procedures, and she is our lead safety officer for our entire laboratory. Amber assists with autopsies and interacting with families, coroner’s offices, funeral homes and other agencies involved with death investigations.
Tara Jochim, HTL
Histotechnology is Tara’s specialty. She has been working with our group for over 15 years and has been our lead histotechnologist for over 13 years. Our histotechnology department operates at a high level and our laboratory is certified through the College of American Pathologists (CAP) which is the premier accrediting organization for pathology laboratories. Tara ensures our lab follows all the necessary standards and procedures in regard to quality and safety. In addition, Tara’s specialty is immunohistochemistry which involves a staining procedure involving targeting proteins expressed on tumor cells and normal cells and having them highlighted on glass slides. Tara brings skills to our organization that are very important and they cannot be overemphasized. Pathologists rely heavily on professionals such as Tara.
Kate Bowman, BS
The newest member of our pathology team is Kate. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry and this is her first professional job out of graduation. Kate is currently learning the skills to become a proficient Histotechnologist. There is a lot of training involved with this profession and Kate is learning quickly. We are happy to have Kate as a member of our team and she is a valuable addition.
Ginger Sprague, HT
Ginger started with our organization many years ago as a laboratory assistant primarily performing phlebotomy. She has worked herself up the ladder and now is one of our outstanding histotechnologists. Ginger has the skills of a seasoned histotechnologist and can perform essentially any task in our pathology laboratory. She excels at tissue processing and immunohistochemistry. Ginger is also one of our lead autopsy assistants. She has the ability to perform all the usual autopsy assistant procedures. Ginger is also always willing to further her education and skills and is currently studying medicolegal death investigation procedures.