We’re all had enough politics right now, but we have a small opportunity to have a potentially large impact on the financial environment for clinical laboratories in the United States.
It will take swift, strong, and forceful action on the part of the clinical laboratory community, even if we’re all tired.
Congress has come back for its “lame duck” session and key committees are actively considering the Saving Access to Laboratory Services Act (SALSA) (S.4449/H.R.8188). It would replace the draconian reimbursement cuts and reporting requirements of PAMA. The nice thing is that this is bipartisan and has support in both the House and Senate
What if it doesn’t pass? On January 1st 15% cuts to the reimbursement rates for most of the high-volume clinical laboratory tests will go into effect. Because of the interconnected nature of Medicare and Medicaid and private insurance, those cuts will ripple through all reimbursements. Almost overnight, clinical laboratories will lose as much as 15% of their revenue.
- Those retention bonuses you were promised to prevent staff leaving? They probably go away.
- The new analyzers or upgraded system you were hoping were going to make your job easier? Not in 2023, if ever.
- Investments to prepare for future pandemics? Nope
For most of this year, ASCLS and other laboratory groups have been working with members of Congress to come up with and advocate for SALSA. Your colleagues successfully secured a number of co-sponsors during the Laboratory Legislative Symposium in September. Now it’s your turn to take action and contribute to the effort.
- Visit https://stoplabcuts.org/ and contact your representative and two senators. If you aren’t sure who they are, the system will automatically choose them for you under the “Take Action” tab. Follow that up with a phone call to both your representative and two senators and ask them to communicate with their caucus leadership that they are supporting passage of SALSA.
- Participate in the second social media Advocacy Day on Wednesday, November 16th to help us “turn up the volume” SALSA’s enactment. You can download message points and graphics at https://stoplabcuts.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/Stop-Lab-Cuts-Social-Toolkit-11.10.22.doc.
If you think someone should do something about this, you are that someone. There are tons of great resources you can use at https://stoplabcuts.org/resources/. ASLCS also has some background on PAMA, SALSA and how we arrived here.