ACLA campaign, letter seek to stop cuts in lab testing payments

2022 09 13 16 54 6353 Lab Vacutainer Test Tube 400

The American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA) on Tuesday announced a campaign aimed at preventing cuts in Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) payments for laboratory testing.

ACLA said it is launching a series of digital advertisements as part of its Stop Lab Cuts campaign to urge Congress to pass the Saving Access to Laboratory Services Act.

As part of this effort, digital advertisements will appear on news sites across the Beltway, an interstate highway near Washington, D.C., and online via publications in targeted states reaching policymakers, stakeholders, and America's seniors and patients, ACLA said.

ACLA noted that if enacted, the Saving Access to Laboratory Services Act would make critical reforms to Medicare rate-setting for widely ordered laboratory services.

Tests that guide the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diabetes, opioid addiction, many cancers, and numerous other conditions have received three years of 10% cuts in reimbursement "due to incomplete and unrepresentative payer rate data collected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services," ACLA said in a statement.

Last Thursday, the association announced it had sent a letter urging U.S. Senate and House leaders to enact SALSA this year. More than 20 leading organizations representing laboratories, laboratory professionals, providers including hospitals, health systems, and physicians, and diagnostic manufacturers penned the letter with ACLA.

SALSA seeks to address the consequences of incomplete and unrepresentative payment data collected under the 2014 Protecting Access to Medicare Act ​​​​​​​(PAMA), which has led to significant cuts to payments for routine laboratory tests that guide clinical decision-making, ACLA said.

"If Congress fails to act, the next round of Medicare cuts would cut reimbursement for more than 800 commonly ordered tests, resulting in up to a 38% cumulative cut to tests that are widely used to screen and manage many serious and chronic diseases," ACLA said.

In their letter to Congress, the organizations noted that SALSA "is a permanent solution that would set Medicare reimbursement for lab services on a sustainable path forward."

Enactment of SALSA would give CMS authority "to collect private market data through statistically valid sampling from all laboratory segments for the widely available test services where previous data collection was inadequate," the letter said, adding, "The bill ensures true private market rates are included, provides a much-needed reduction in reporting burden, and protects labs and Medicare from dramatic rate increases or decreases with a gradual phase-in approach going forward."

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