ACLA and 33 Provider Organizations Urge Congress to Protect Americans’ Access to Essential Laboratory Tests
Washington, D.C. – The American Clinical Laboratory Association has joined with more than 30 health care provider organizations to urge House and Senate leadership to protect patient access to clinical laboratory services by passing the Saving Access to Laboratory Services Act (SALSA / H.R. 2377 / S. 1000) this year.
In a letter to House and Senate leaders sent today, the provider organizations make the case that “without congressional action, Medicare reimbursement cuts – a fourth round scheduled to begin January 1, 2024 – could jeopardize access to many clinical laboratory tests that are used to diagnose, monitor, prevent, and manage common diseases for Medicare beneficiaries.” The letter states further that repeated payment cuts undermine the nation’s laboratory infrastructure essential for day-to-day care and in times of emergency, while dampening innovation in advanced diagnostics, which has not only led to earlier detection of disease but has also become a crucial tool in how care is delivered.
The broad group of signers includes AdvaMedDx, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, College of American Pathologists, Infectious Disease Society of America, and the National Independent Laboratory Association. The letter and full list of signatories are included below.
“ACLA is grateful for the strong collaboration from across the health care provider community, from hospitals, laboratories, physicians, and medical specialties organizations, to press Congress to act to pass SALSA this year,” said Susan Van Meter, ACLA President. “SALSA is the bipartisan, bicameral, straightforward solution for sustainable reimbursement that would protect patient access to laboratory services, bolster clinical laboratory infrastructure, and foster innovation in the next generation of laboratory testing.”
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). Congress has previously delayed additional rounds of cuts three times.
Absent congressional intervention, about 800 tests will receive up to 15 percent cuts on January 1, 2024. 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.
Learn more about the Stop Lab Cuts campaign and how Americans could be harmed by further cuts to laboratory services here.
The letter is here and the complete list of signatories is below:
ADVION (Formerly the National Association for the Support of Long Term Care (NASL))
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Association for Clinical Chemistry
American Association of Bioanalysts
American Clinical Laboratory Association
American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians
American Hospital Association
American Medical Association
American Medical Technologists
American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science
American Society for Clinical Pathology
American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics
American Society for Microbiology
American Society of Nephrology
Association for Molecular Pathology
Association of American Medical Colleges
Association of Pathology Chairs
Association of Public Health Laboratories
California Clinical Laboratory Association
College of American Pathologists
Federation of American Hospitals
Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA)
Medical Group Management Association (MGMA)
National Independent Laboratory Association
National Rural Health Association
New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies, Inc.
New York State Clinical Laboratory Association
Personalized Medicine Coalition
Point of Care Testing Association
The Gerontological Society of America
American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics
*Updated on 5/22/23.
The American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA) is the national trade association representing leading laboratories that deliver essential diagnostic health information to patients and providers by advocating for policies that expand access to the highest quality clinical laboratory services, improve patient outcomes, and advance the next generation of personalized care.