(WASHINGTON, DC) –The American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA) – the nation’s largest organization representing the public policy interests of clinical laboratories — is reviewing the final rule released today by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to implement the Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule (CLFS) provisions of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA).
ACLA commended CMS on its decision to delay the implementation of the new payment system until January 1, 2018. ACLA called for the implementation delay in its comments to the proposed rule, as did members of the Ways & Means Committee, the leadership of the Senate Finance Committee, and organizations such as the American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, and National Independent Laboratory Association.
Although its evaluation has just begun, when comparing the final rule to the proposed rule, ACLA noted there appear to be some improvements in several key areas, including the definitions of applicable laboratory and advanced diagnostic laboratory test.
“Since Congress began consideration of reform of the CLFS, ACLA has advocated for a system that bases Medicare reimbursement on the broad scope of the laboratory market, encourages innovation, and protects access to laboratory services for Medicare patients, said Alan Mertz, President of ACLA, “The establishment of a market-based system for determining Medicare reimbursement for laboratory services was clearly preferable to the alternative – unlimited cuts to payment rates by CMS through its technological changes authority, as well as across the board reductions to the CLFS by Congress. ACLA’s next step is to evaluate completely this final rule, and consult with our membership.”
Mertz concluded, “At the heart of the clinical lab community is a shared mission to provide physicians and patients with accurate diagnostic information that will enhance treatment decisions and health outcomes. A payment system that recognizes value and spurs innovation will protect patient access and allow for even greater scientific discoveries that will continue to positively transform the practice of medicine.”
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The ACLA is a not-for-profit association representing the nation’s leading national, regional and esoteric clinical laboratories on key issues of common concern, including federal and state government reimbursement and regulatory policies.