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Action Alert archive

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

ASCP Action Alerts are sent out to ASCP's membership to provide up-to-date legislative and regulatory information on the most current pathology and laboratory medicine issues in state and federal government. These alerts allow ASCP members and colleagues to become educated about the issues at hand and take action by contacting their local or federal officials with a few clicks of a mouse.

Cuts, Coinsurance Threaten Laboratory Services 
Urge Congress to Resist Imposing Cuts on Medicare Lab Services, Coinsurance on Beneficiaries 
June 21, 2011—Congress is undergoing budget negotiations. Two items on the table are cuts to clinical laboratory services and a 20-percent laboratory coinsurance requirement on Medicare beneficiaries. Over the past two decades, Medicare payment amounts for clinical laboratory services have been dramatically reduced, by as much as 40 percent. Additional cuts are expected as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Moreover, plans to impose coinsurance requirements on Medicare beneficiaries for laboratory services threaten access to needed tests. The administrative costs alone of collecting these small amounts would easily exceed the coinsurance amount, adding unnecessary burden on laboratories. In addition, studies report it is unlikely that such payments would affect utilization because of the way laboratory tests are ordered.  Given its vital role and the detrimental impact if access to crucial screening and diagnostic services for Medicare beneficiaries are restricted, it is imperative that neither cuts to clinical laboratory services nor the imposition of laboratory coinsurance requirements be considered as legislation to address the nation’s debt. The laboratory and its role in the administration of healthcare delivery cannot and should not be required to operate on a shoestring nor should Medicare beneficiaries have to forgo needed medical testing because of unnecessary coinsurance requirements.   
Click here to take action. 

Help Fund Laboratory Training Programs Nationwide 

Urge Congress to Reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act (WIA)
June 16, 2011—This month Congressional leaders are scheduled to consider reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), which provides funding for job training programs; authorization of the legislation could have a substantial impact on the laboratory.  As you are aware, our nation’s clinical laboratories are facing a critical and growing shortage of qualified laboratory personnel. The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there will be almost 11,000 laboratory technologist/technician job openings annually through 2018. Unfortunately, the programs preparing tomorrow’s laboratory workforce train far fewer than what is needed. Currently, fewer than 5,000 individuals are graduating each year from accredited training programs. Something must be done to bridge this divide!
ASCP urges you to contact your members of Congress to ask them to support the reauthorization of the WIA. Take action now ...

Reverse Physician Signature Requirement - Tell Congress to Insist that CMS Take Action 
Urge Congress to Insist that CMS Reverse Requisition Physician Signature Requirement 
Jan. 28, 2011—Over 1,100 advocates reached out to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to express opposition to a recently adopted rule requiring a physician's signature on requisitions for clinical diagnostic laboratory tests. CMS heard ASCP as well as the other members of the Clinical Laboratory Coalition, and has indicated that it is considering the possibility of eliminating its recent rule or extending further its implementation date. Unfortunately, while the agency has expressed a willingness to reexamine the rule, it is still pursuing implementing this flawed requirement as soon as April 1. ASCP argued the new rule could adversely affect patient care and complicate the provision of laboratory services. CMS must be made to understand. Today, ASCP is launching a new advocacy campaign to encourage you to write your Member of Congress and Senators to encourage them to contact CMS to see the error of their ways and rescind the new rule. ASCP encourages everyone to take a moment to write Congress to urge them to reverse the physician signature requirement on laboratory requisitions.