On January 1, 2019, a second round of 10 percent cuts to the Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule for Medicare will be implemented. These second round of cuts, along with the pass along of last year’s cuts to private insurers and Medicaid, is likely to have devastating effects on laboratories. In the first year alone, hospitals have cut back on outreach to their communities, leaving nursing homes and other underserved patient populations at risk. Laboratories are rolling back services and leaving open positions unfilled, which leaves front line laboratory professionals overwhelmed and concerned about the safety of their patients.
The laboratory community is calling on Congress to pass “freeze-bridge” legislation to delay this next round of PAMA cuts. The proposal would freeze the 2018 rates in both 2019 and 2020 allowing time to develop an accurate methodology to implement PAMA. Additionally, the second round of data collection, scheduled to occur early next year, would also be delayed until a new methodology is in place. During the two-year freeze period, Congress would require the National Academy of Medicine to conduct a study and publish recommendations on how to best implement the least burdensome, statistically valid data collection that is representative of the laboratory markets and an appropriate rate-setting methodology that is representative of the market and ensures sustainable patient access.
ASCLS has setup a grass roots page to make it easy to urge Congress to take action. Click the ACT NOW! link above to take action.