November marks National Diabetes Month, a time to reflect on the impact of diabetes in the U.S. and the important role diagnostic testing plays in managing and combating this disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 37.3 million adults in the U.S. have diabetes, and one in five of them do not know they have it. What’s more, an estimated 96 million adults in the U.S. have prediabetes and face a high risk of developing diabetes in the future.
Fortunately, routine screening and diagnostic tests such as the A1C hemoglobin test, the Fasting Blood Sugar Test, and the Glucose Tolerance Test can make a meaningful difference in diagnosing and managing diabetes and prediabetes. The A1C test, for example, is a common blood test typically ordered by a primary care provider that assesses whether a patient has or might be at risk of developing diabetes. Millions of patients rely on these tests every year, especially seniors – in fact, in 2020, more than 17 million Medicare beneficiaries were given a hemoglobin A1C test.
Through diagnosis and disease management, patients with diabetes can receive more personalized treatment and have better health outcomes. Ultimately, patient access to testing impacts patient access to care, which is why ACLA is working to reform a 2014 law that has led to three years of compounding cuts to Medicare reimbursement for routine laboratory tests. The next wave of reimbursement cuts, scheduled for January 1, 2023, will impact many widely used tests, including the A1C test.
Fortunately, the solution is simple: Congress must enact the Saving Access to Laboratory Services Act (S. 4449/H.R. 8188) before the end of this year. This bicameral, bipartisan bill would ease these harmful cuts and help protect patients’ access to the tests they need to inform and manage their care.
As we recognize National Diabetes Month and the value that diagnostic testing has in combating this disease, we urge patients, providers, and caregivers to call on Congress to enact the Saving Access to Laboratory Services Act. Learn how we can protect patient access to these vital laboratory services at StopLabCuts.org.