Washington DC – The American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA) today joined nine other health care organizations in sending a letter to the House Ways & Means and Senate Finance Committees’ leadership urging swift action to extend the Technical Component (TC) “Grandfather” set to expire this year on December 31st. The TC “Grandfather” would ensure that hospitals can continue to rely on independent laboratories to ensure access to surgical pathology services to patients without disruption.
In 1999, CMS tried to eliminate direct payment to independent laboratories for the technical component for pathology services provided to hospital patients and force laboratory pathologists to seek payment from the hospitals without providing the hospitals with the necessary funds to pay for the services. Congress recognized the need to take action and through a series of extensions, has prevented implementation of this policy to date, thereby protecting access to laboratory services for Medicare beneficiaries, particularly those in rural areas.
The ACLA and its allies noted that, should Congress fail to act, “nearly a quarter of the nation’s hospitals could be affected, limiting patient access to important medical testing.”
“Health care providers are already being asked to do more with less and, our laboratory and the smaller hospitals we service need the stability that an extension of the “grandfather” would provide,” the letter states.
As part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Congress maintained the “grandfather” through December 31, 2010. However, without further congressional action in the lame duck session, this protection will expire at year’s end.