Facing Unprecedented Demand for Testing, Clinical Labs Ask Congress for Surge Capacity Fund
WASHINGTON, D.C. — As commercial laboratories rapidly extend considerable resources to meet demand for COVID-19 testing, ACLA President Julie Khani sent a letter to congressional leadership seeking support from the federal government.
“We are growing increasingly concerned that the federal government is not recognizing the strain on the laboratory industry to meet the demand for testing for COVID-19,” writes Khani.
As policymakers consider measures to support the public health response to COVID-19, ACLA has asked Congress to support an emergency laboratory surge capacity fund of $5 billion. These funds would help ensure that the clinical laboratory industry has the equipment, supplies, labor and resources necessary to sustain robust testing capacity for millions of Americans.
“Free testing for COVID-19 has now been promised to the American people,” said Khani. “The laboratory industry wholeheartedly supports no-cost testing but is in critical need of additional support from Congress to ensure we have the necessary staffing, supplies and equipment to fulfill that vital promise.”
Highlights from the letter are included below:
- Since the FDA’s February 29 guidance provided an accelerated path for commercial laboratories to perform COVID-19 testing, labs within ACLA’s membership have performed approximately 43,000 tests for COVID-19. Notably, these tests have been performed absent assurances about the payment for these necessary services.
- We are growing increasingly concerned that the federal government is not recognizing the strain on the laboratory industry to meet the demand for testing for COVID-19. Free testing for COVID-19 has now been promised to the American people. Laboratories should not bear the cost of “free” testing. Clinical laboratories need additional support from Congress to ensure we have the necessary staffing, supplies and equipment to fulfill that vital promise.
- In the coming weeks and months, maintaining the full force of a robust lab industry will be necessary to enable other industries (e.g. airlines, cruise lines, hospitality) to recover from this crisis. As our industry extends considerable resources to meet demand, we seek support from the federal government so that we can continue our vital work for many months to come.
To view the full letter, click here
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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.