The American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA) and 26 other organizations representing laboratories, laboratory professionals, hospitals, health systems, physicians, and diagnostic manufacturers sent a letter urging Senate and House leaders to pass the Saving Access to Laboratory Services Act (SALSA) before the end of 2022.


In the letter dated Sept. 8, 2022, the organizations explain the bill would help ensure that America’s seniors maintain access to lifesaving clinical laboratory tests and services in the face of pending Medicare cuts in January 2023.


SALSA aims to address the effects of incomplete and unrepresentative payment data collected under the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA) of 2014, which has resulted in substantial cuts to payments for routine laboratory tests that guide clinical decision-making. At the time PAMA was enacted, the Congressional Budget Office projected that reimbursement for laboratories would be reduced by $2.5 billion during a 10-year period, but PAMA has already led to a cut of nearly $4 billion from the Medicare Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule (CLFS) from 2018 to 2021, ACLA explains in a press release.


According to ACLA, up to 15 percent of funding for more than 800 tests is scheduled to be cut by Jan. 1, 2023, unless Congress acts now. These reductions could have a wide-ranging impact on the ability of senior citizens to get the lab tests they need for diagnosis and treatment of conditions like diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, prostate and colon cancers, anemia, viral and bacterial infections, and opioid dependence.


As stated in the letter to Congress, “Enactment of the Saving Access to Laboratory Services Act is urgently needed this year, to allow laboratories to focus on providing timely, high quality clinical laboratory services for patients, continuing to innovate, and building the infrastructure necessary to protect the public health.”


“Passage of the Saving Access to Laboratory Services Act would reform current Medicare rate-setting that has led to years of harmful laboratory cuts and, instead, set reimbursement for widely available laboratory services on a sustainable path forward,” Susan Van Meter, ACLA president, said in a press release.