Under the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA), Congress changed the way Medicare determines rates for the Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule (CLFS), and the implementation of PAMA led to a significant cut for a majority of the routine tests physicians use every day to care for their patients.
The physician community has been increasingly concerned about how these cuts in Medicare will impact patient access to critical, rapid clinical laboratory services offered to patients while they are receiving medical care in their physician’s office. These near patient testing services are invaluable to diagnosis and treatment of acute care illnesses and effective chronic disease management.
The 10% cut for many routine laboratory tests has already been implemented and an additional 10% cut is planned for 2019. COLA is now conducting an impact survey to better understand how cuts in the CLFS are impacting laboratory services. COLA invites interested laboratories to respond to this vital survey which will be shared with policy makers in Washington. The survey may be found at PAMA Impact Survey.
This latest questionnaire is part of a broader effort led by COLA to make visible the importance of near patient testing to patient care. A previous COLA study found that 89% of respondents in their national practice survey reported that they believe that elderly patients would be at risk of more serious health issues if patients were no longer able to receive clinical laboratory services. For more information on the survey and the impact of the CLFS cuts, visit NearPatientTestingMatters.org.
COLA accredits nearly 8,000 medical laboratories and provides the clinical laboratory with a program of education, consultation, and accreditation. The organization is an independent, non-profit accreditor whose education program and standards enable clinical laboratories and staff to meet U.S. CLIA and other regulatory requirements. COLA is recognized by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as a deemed accrediting organization. COLA’s program is endorsed by the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the American College of Physicians (ACP), and is also recognized by The Joint Commission. For more information about COLA accreditation services and educational products, and online educational opportunities, please call 800-981-9883 or visit COLA’s web site at www.cola.org.