Government Affairs

ASCLS-CO Leadership with 2nd District of Colorado Representative Jared Polis

As new laws and regulations bring momentous changes to clinical laboratory science, your ASCLS membership provides you with liaisons to members of congress, federal agencies, and state agencies. Our government affairs team monitors and influences laws and regulations that affect the profession. This dedicated team, coupled with extensive grassroots involvements from the membership, ensures that the concerns of the profession are heard in Congress. To ensure effective advocacy, each year ASCLS also holds a Legislative Symposium. Participants learn the manner in which current issues are being addressed within government and are briefed in lobbying skills. Participants also meet with members of congress to discuss the issues important to the profession and to advocate for our best interests.

The ASCLS Action Center is where members can reach out to our constituents and notify them as to what issues are affecting them as laboratory professionals. Getting notified about what could affect YOU requires only your email address at the Government Action Center.

ASCLS-CO Leadership on “The Hill”


10.16.2017 ACTION ALERT
ACT NOW! Preserve access to laboratory services!
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is proposing more than $600 million in cuts to laboratory reimbursements beginning January 1, 2018, with total cuts rising to as much as $1.5 billion annually compared to current reimbursement levels by 2020. These cuts are part of a flawed implementation of the Preserving Access to Medicare Act (PAMA) passed in 2014.

CLICK HERE and continue to the end of the abstract to view more details and TAKE ACTION

Update 07.06.2017 ACT NOW (Week of July 10th)
The laboratory community needs your help to delay the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from implementing inappropriate new Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule (CLFS) rates. As you may know, in 2014 Congress passed the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA) to base Medicare CLFS reimbursement rates on laboratory-reported private market rates. Unfortunately, current Medicare rules would exclude 95 percent of clinical laboratories from reporting their private market rates, including most physician office and hospital laboratories. This September, CMS is planning to publish preliminary CLFS rates that would reflect unrepresentative data from only 5 percent of laboratories. Unless there is a change, these rates will go into effect on January 1, 2018, and if they do, Medicare beneficiary access to clinical laboratory services will be put at risk.

We need you to contact your Members of Congress and ask them to urge CMS to delay PAMA implementation until CMS can develop CLFS rates that accurately reflect the entire private market. Your email will make a difference, but it is important to act right now [WEEK OF JULY 10th]. Please click this link to bring you to the American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA) website where you will be able to provide your contact information and access a pre-written letter to your Members of Congress that can be easily and quickly emailed. Thank you for taking the time to protect Medicare beneficiary access to clinical laboratory services. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

On Tuesday March 21st, the laboratory community descended on Capitol Hill to educate Congress on critical issues facing our healthcare system. The topics they covered were:

  • 04.10.2017 : ASCP Endorses LCD Reform Bill

    ASCP is supporting legislation introduced by Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) to reform the Medicare Local Coverage Determination (LCD) Process. The bill, called the Local Coverage Determination Clarification Act of 2017 (S. 794), is being championed by the College of American Pathologists. The bill would increase the level of transparency and accountability placed on Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) in developing LCDs. The bipartisan measure, co-sponsored by Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Thomas R. Carper (D- DE) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), would revise the process by which MACs issue and reconsider LCDs.

  • Laboratory Workforce: There is a growing crisis with critical shortages in the laboratory workforce. Long term trends show the number of graduates and those becoming certified is relatively flat. Even with remarkable gains in productivity made possible through automation, the workforce is unable to keep up with the growth in demand. This shortfall will directly impact the health and welfare of patients.
    Workforce Briefing Paper
  • Laboratory Reimbursement and PAMA: Implementation of PAMA is scheduled to begin in January 2018. Early feedback on a flawed data reporting system is that the cuts to the Clinical Lab Fee Schedule will overshoot the original $350 billion annual target. This will lead to dramatic cuts in the menu of available tests available tests for practitioners diagnosing and treating patients. It will reduce capital investment in clinical laboratories, leaving important new tools that address issues like antibiotic resistance unavailable for use. Finally, it is likely to drive consolidation, the loss of well-paying scientific jobs, and reduce even further the choice of and speed with which test results are available for practitioners and patients.
    PAMA Briefing Paper
  • Laboratory Developed Tests: The laboratory community is sharing expert perspective on this regulatory issue in advance of the FDA’s expected request for guidance from Congress on this issue later this year.
    LDT Briefing Paper
     
    Update 04.10.2017
    LDT Oversight Still on Congressional Agenda

    A draft bill, known as the Diagnostic Accuracy and Innovation Act, is being circulated in Congress. Introduced by Representatives Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN) and Diana DeGette (D-CO), the legislation would call for Laboratory Developed Tests to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In vitro diagnostics are already under the purview of the FDA.

updated 10.16.2017