This month, the American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA) launched the Stop Lab Cuts campaign to urge Congress to pass the Saving Access to Laboratory Services Act (S. 4449/H.R. 8188) and help protect patient access to laboratory services.
The Saving Access to Laboratory Services Act, introduced in June 2022, would reform the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014, which resulted in significant reductions in Medicare payments for routine laboratory tests. According to ACLA, without congressional action, laboratories will go through a fourth round of Medicare reimbursement cuts. “Congress has acted three times to delay these harmful reimbursement cuts, but long-term reform is needed to safeguard access to the essential tests that patients need,” Susan Van Meter, ACLA president, said in a press release.
The campaign website, StopLabCuts.org, provides regular updates with insights from patient, provider, and public health stakeholders, as well as leaders in the clinical laboratory industry. The site also provides a form to email local officials urging them to pass the legislation. As stated on the campaign’s website, “Medicare reimbursement cuts, scheduled for January 2023, could jeopardize access to many of the clinical laboratory tests that are used to diagnose, monitor, prevent, and manage common diseases for more than 50 million seniors.”
Without congressional action, more than 800 tests will see cuts of up to 15 percent starting on Jan. 1, 2023. Additionally, the payment for tests used to screen for and diagnose diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions was reduced by 27 percent due to previous rounds of cuts between 2017 and 2022. Some tests may see a cumulative cut of up to 41 percent.
“Collectively, these cuts may threaten access to laboratory services for diagnosing and treating seniors with a wide range of conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, prostate and colon cancers, anemia, viral and bacterial infections, and opioid dependency, among others,” the ACLA writes in a statement.