ACLA and 25 Provider Organizations Urge Congress to Protect Access to Critical Laboratory Tests for Seniors and All Patients
Washington, D.C.— The American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA) today sent a letter with more than 20 leading organizations representing laboratories, laboratory professionals, providers including hospitals, health systems, and physicians, and diagnostic manufacturers, urging Senate and House leaders to protect patient access to clinical laboratory services by enacting the Saving Access to Laboratory Services Act (SALSA / S. 4449 / H.R. 8188) this year. The bill would help ensure that America’s seniors maintain access to lifesaving clinical laboratory tests and services in the face of pending Medicare cuts in January 2023.
“A fourth round of harmful Medicare cuts to clinical laboratories could reduce access to essential testing for patients, stifle innovation, and weaken our national clinical laboratory infrastructure,” said Susan Van Meter, ACLA President. “Passage of the Saving Access to Laboratory Services Act would reform current Medicare rate-setting that has led to years of harmful laboratory cuts and, instead, set reimbursement for widely available laboratory services on a sustainable path forward. This reform will allow laboratories to focus on providing timely, high quality clinical services for patients and providers and, also, invest in innovation in future diagnostics and the infrastructure necessary to protect public health.”
SALSA seeks to address the consequences of incomplete and unrepresentative payment data collected under the 2014 Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA), which has led to significant cuts to payments for routine laboratory tests that guide clinical decision-making. At the time PAMA was enacted, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected $2.5 billion in cuts to reimbursement for labs over 10 years. However, PAMA has already cut nearly $4 billion from the Medicare Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule (CLFS) from 2018 to 2021, which has a total annual spending of only $8 billion, or roughly 3 percent of overall Medicare Part B spending.
Absent congressional intervention, more than 800 tests will receive up to 15 percent cuts on January 1, 2023. Collectively, these cuts may compromise access to laboratory services for diagnosing and treating seniors with a wide range of conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, prostate and colon cancers, anemia, viral and bacterial infections, and opioid dependency, among others. SALSA is a long-term policy that would set Medicare reimbursement for laboratory services on a sustainable path forward.
To view the full letter, click here.
Click here to learn more about how America’s seniors could be impacted by further cuts to laboratory services.
The American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA) is the national trade association representing leading laboratories that deliver essential diagnostic health information to patients and providers. ACLA members are at the forefront of driving diagnostic innovation to meet the country’s evolving health care needs and provide vital clinical laboratory tests that identify and prevent infectious, acute and chronic disease. ACLA works to advance the next generation of health care delivery through policies that expand access to lifesaving testing services.