WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following additional guidance released today from the Department of Labor, the Department of Treasury, and the Department of Health and Human Services regarding the coverage and payment requirements for testing in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the CARES Act, ACLA President Julie Khani released the following statement:
“As leading government officials outlined in congressional testimony today, testing is a critical component of our nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to helping inform care for an individual patient, information derived from broadly available testing allows us to understand and triage the spread of the disease, and help Americans return to work and school safely.
However, the tri-agency guidance released today creates widespread gaps in coverage for COVID-19 testing and ends the clear coverage mandates passed by Congress that required comprehensive health plans to cover molecular and serologic COVID-19 testing without cost sharing or prior authorization.
Today’s reversal creates gaps in coverage that, if left unfilled, pose a direct threat to the public health and undermine state and national efforts to reopen the economy. For employees of nursing homes, meatpacking facilities, restaurants and others who rely on regular testing to keep their families and workplaces safe, for schools hoping to welcome students back to school in the fall, and for communities anxious to limit asymptomatic spread of the virus, coverage for COVID-19 testing is now in doubt.
While there is widespread agreement that this testing is necessary, the issue of how these tests will be paid for remains unclear. Laboratories cannot – and should not be expected to – absorb the costs for return to work and surveillance testing.
We call on Congress to immediately designate funding to close the gaps created by the tri-agency guidance, ensuring access to testing and fair reimbursement for laboratories for tests performed. We must give public health officials the data points and tools they need to contain this devastating virus.”
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ACLA is a not-for-profit association representing the nation’s leading clinical and anatomic pathology laboratories, including national, regional, specialty, hospital, ESRD and nursing home laboratories. The clinical laboratory industry employs nearly 295,000 people directly, and generates over 117,000 additional jobs in supplier industries. Clinical laboratories are at the forefront of personalized medicine, driving diagnostic innovation and contributing more than $106 billion to the nation’s economy.