The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently finalized an increase for 2023 in the specimen collection fee and travel allowances paid by Medicare Part B for a laboratory technician to draw a specimen from a nursing home patient or homebound patient.

The general specimen collection fee will increase from $3 to $8.57. As required by the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014, the fee will also increase by $2 to $10.57 for specimens collected by a laboratory on behalf of a home health agency or collected from a Medicare patient in a skilled nursing facility. CMS finalized a policy to update this fee amount annually by the percent change in the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers.

CMS also clarified eligibility for a specimen collection fee. To be eligible, the specimen must be used to perform a Clinical Diagnostic Laboratory Test paid under the Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule regulations. The specimen must also be collected by a trained technician from a homebound Medicare patient or a nonhospital inpatient (only when no qualified personnel are available at the facility to collect the specimen). Lastly, the specimen must be collected as a blood specimen through venipuncture or a urine sample collected by catheterization. A specimen collection fee is not payable for any other specimen types, CMS clarified.