On December 19th, after multiple years of uproar from ACLA and other stakeholders on behalf of seniors who rely on lab tests, Congress has officially passed the Laboratory Access for Beneficiaries Act, also known as the LAB Act. This bill, which is expected to be signed by the president into law soon, will delay the reporting of lab payment data required by PAMA (Protecting Access to Medicare Act) by one year.
Anticipated to be a huge win for the labs and patients, the LAB Act should increase hospital lab participation in data reporting and, in turn, boost payment rates according to ACLA; "Fortunately, Congress’ decisive action today puts us on the path to enact meaningful PAMA reforms that will protect seniors’ access to essential lab services, as the law originally intended," American Clinical Laboratory Association President Julie Khani said in a statement last Thursday.
XIFIN Executive Vice President and General Manager of Diagnostic Services, Kyle Fetter shares ACLA President, Julie Khani’s sentiments, and adds that: “This is an important step in acknowledging that the PAMA reporting exercise was flawed from the beginning and was certainly not a reflection of a true market-based pricing exercise. We are hopeful that this delay and subsequent study results in a more accurate data collection process and, ultimately, a more realistic laboratory test pricing to ensure timely access to critical lab services for Medicare beneficiaries in the future.”
As Fetter mentioned, this is a great step in the right direction for labs and patients; however, the consequences of PAMA are still affecting the community, as another round of cuts is set to occur next month.