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Tell Congress to Repeal Medicare's Flawed SGR Formula, Oppose Cuts to CLFS

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Urge Congress to Resist Imposing Cuts on Medicare Lab Services, Coinsurance on Beneficiaries

Events in Washington may threaten the future of pathology and laboratory medicine as well as patient care. The American Society for Clinical Pathology is urging its entire membership to contact their U.S. Senators and Representatives about pending Medicare policy issues.

A new congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction has been granted broad power to develop a legislative package by Nov. 23 to reduce spending by $1.5 trillion. If Congress fails to enact spending reductions by Dec. 23, across-the-board cuts will be imposed. Medicare provider payments are on the chopping block again at a time when physician payments are already slated to be cut 30 percent on Jan. 1. Additionally, a Congressional agency tasked with providing Congress with expert guidance on Medicare policy may soon recommend an 18 percent cut in payments to nonprimary care physicians, such as pathologists, over the next three years followed by a freeze in payment rates for seven years. Also being considered is a slashing of clinical laboratory payments by 10 percent to obtain additional savings.

Moreover, over the next few years, physicians who fail to comply with electronic prescribing, electronic health records, and quality reporting requirements face additional payment reductions under current law. Given flawed reporting requirements, it may be difficult, if not impossible, for pathologists to meet the compliance requirements and escape these payment reductions.

These cuts could affect everyone working in the medical laboratory field, be they a pathologist or medical laboratory scientist.

ASCP is working with the American Medical Association and other medical specialty societies to convince Congress to shift the focus from destructive payment cuts to reforms that will stabilize the Medicare program.

Deadlines for congressional action are just weeks away. The stakes for medicine are enormous. Your ability to deliver high-quality care and preserve patients' access to care hangs in the balance. Together, the ASCP, American Medical Association, national and state medical specialty societies, and individuals working in pathology and laboratory medicine across the country can secure a better outcome than what looms ahead.

Join us in the campaign for a better future for physicians and patients by using ASCP's e-Advocacy Center to send an urgent message to Congress on this critical issue NOW-- click here.