The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released its final rates for the Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule (CLFS) that will phase-in a significant cut in the rates of those common tests physicians use every day to diagnose and treat patients. The first cut is 10% effective January 1, 2018.
The Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA) of 2014 directed CMS to gather data from labs on what private payers reimburse for clinical laboratory testing. CMS used this payment data to establish what Medicare will pay for lab tests. Unfortunately, due to significant data integrity concerns, COLA urged CMS to validate the data collected before proceeding to finalize new payment rates.
“I am deeply worried about the impact of these rate cuts on the elderly access to lab testing in rural communities,” Dr. John Daly, Chief Medical Officer of COLA, said. “There is no question in my mind that access to timely laboratory information will decline and residents living in rural communities will suffer the most in terms of delays in diagnosis and misdiagnosis. I can only hope we will find a way to change the course of this decision.”
COLA will continue to raise awareness and highlight the importance of near patient laboratory testing to early diagnosis and chronic disease management. To see all of COLA’s findings visit www.NearPatientTestingMatters.org.
About Dr. John Daly
John T. Daly, M.D. has served as COLA’s Chief Medical Officer since 2011, where he provides professional medical knowledge and experience to represent the clinical voice in the implementation of COLA policy. His responsibilities include taking a proactive approach to the development and implementation of COLA policy in a rapidly evolving healthcare environment, with maintaining a continuing emphasis on quality laboratory medicine and patient safety.
Dr. Daly previously practiced clinical pathology in both the community and academic settings until his retirement from Duke Medicine in 2009. Dr. Daly earned his M.D. degree at Cornell University Medical College in New York City, and performed his internship and residency in pathology at Duke University Medical Center. He is certified by the American Board of Pathology in Anatomic, Clinical and Forensic Pathology and is a member of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry, the College of American Pathologists and the American Society for Clinical Pathology.
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.