Amid Growing Demand For Testing, Lawmakers Call On HHS To Designate Resources For Clinical Laboratories
In a bipartisan letter to Secretary Azar, 30 lawmakers urge HHS to designate funds to help clinical laboratories expand capacity
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As clinical laboratories continue to work around the clock to expand access to high-quality testing across the country, a bipartisan group of lawmakers today urged Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to direct funds from the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (PHSSEF) to support the expanded efforts of clinical laboratories.
“Funding for lab capacity through the PHSSEF can help ensure that these labs have the supplies, equipment, workforce, and other resources necessary to continue expanding COVID testing in our districts and throughout the U.S.,” the lawmakers wrote.
Today’s action follows a letter sent by ACLA on April 29, which requested designated funding be made available for clinical laboratories performing COVID-19 testing.
To date, ACLA members have performed more than 10 million molecular PCR tests for COVID-19 and are investing in new platforms, driving forward innovative solutions to meet the evolving needs of workers, patients and their families, and developing new technology to expand access.
“As the demand for testing continues to grow, clinical laboratories need dedicated funding to plan for challenges that lie ahead,” said ACLA President Julie Khani. “Strong federal coordination and leadership is essential, and we’re looking forward to working with HHS to ensure that laboratories have the resources necessary to continue to expand our role at the forefront of the nation’s response.”
Highlights from the letter are included below:
- “Laboratories have invested significant resources in equipment, supplies, and staffing to meet the very specific needs of COVID-19 testing demands, while simultaneously facing steep revenue declines for their usual work due to the public health emergency.”
- “There have been no federal funds specifically designated for the laboratories that have stepped up in this public health crisis and have made significant investments to expand access to COVID-19 testing despite 40-60 percent reductions in regular commercial volume due to the economic lockdowns.”
- “As laboratories work to maintain their investments in critical resources for testing platforms, reagents, swabs, and PPE, as well as hiring, training, and overtime pay for the laboratory workforce, we urge HHS to direct a portion of funding that has not already been allocated towards these efforts.”
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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.