WASHINGTON, D.C — Following the release of the latest Senate legislation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ACLA President Julie Khani released the following statement:
“We are alarmed by the latest Senate proposal – it fails to clearly designate essential emergency funding for expanded testing capacity and laboratory operations. If this legislation moves forward, it would set up commercial laboratories to perform COVID-19 testing at a loss, putting at risk the private sector efforts that the country is relying on for national testing.
Free testing is an empty promise if labs do not have the resources to process specimens. Without immediate certainty on testing reimbursement and funding for supplies, clinical labs will face growing capacity challenges that could lead to disruptions in test processing time and availability. Without testing, doctors cannot adequately treat patients. Without testing, health care workers will not know if they are contagious or if they can continue to serve on the frontlines. Without testing, individuals will not know if they are sick and should quarantine. Without testing, our economy will struggle to recover.
This strain on laboratories is coming at a time the industry has endured year-over-year cuts for testing from the federal government. Now more than ever, it’s time for Congress and the administration to make the necessary investments to meet demand. We have urged Congress to immediately set aside funding to support our efforts, to provide clear guidelines on fair reimbursement, and to delay scheduled cuts to reimbursement for laboratory services that continue to undermine our members’ ability to respond to this national crisis. Absent these changes, this legislation will jeopardize the progress clinical labs have made to stop the spread of COVID-19 across the country.”
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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.