WASHINGTON, D.C. — ACLA President Julie Khani today issued the following statement regarding the current stimulus bill under consideration in the Senate:
“ACLA members have collectively reported out approximately 88,000 COVID-19 tests to date, including 25,000 tests performed just yesterday. As we continue to scale up capacity, the current stimulus bill under consideration in the Senate would not provide the sufficient backing for our members to continue this robust effort. We will not be able to make necessary investments to meet future demand without more support from the U.S. Government.
As it stands now, the current stimulus package has tens of billions of dollars in aid for affected industries—restaurants, airlines, and manufacturers who have started to shut their doors. The availability of reliable, accurate and accessible testing is a requirement for those industries to make a comeback. As Congress considers additional provisions to this bill, it would be dangerous to overlook this fact.
Without swift action by Congress, our laboratories are being set up to perform COVID-19 testing at a loss. While we support the patient coverage provisions already enacted, laboratories are unable to absorb the costs that will be pushed onto us. We currently have no protection if payers seek to compensate us below cost or require laboratories to cover a patient’s copay. We have already seen some state Medicaid programs establish reimbursement at a fraction of our costs.
This national emergency demands the full force of the clinical laboratory industry and the rest of the health care community. Congress must act now to include our $5 billion emergency fund in the stimulus package to help cover the cost of uncompensated COVID-19 testing, support continued surge capacity, and ensure government buyback for necessary equipment and supplies, such as high-capacity platforms that are being used to significantly expand testing throughput.
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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.