Dear Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Schumer,
On September 7th, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved S.1771, the Departments of Labor,
Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill for fiscal year
2018. Included in the accompanying report is language that encourages the Centers for Medicare and
Medicaid Services (CMS) to work with stakeholders to ensure that that the new Medicare payment rates
for clinical laboratory tests are based on data from the “full spectrum of laboratories, including hospital,
independent, and physician-office laboratories.” AACC supports this language.
Unfortunately, on September 22nd, CMS released its new proposed Medicare laboratory payment rates.
As feared, the data gathered and used by the agency in setting the new fees is skewed towards one sector
of the laboratory community. According to CMS, more than 90 percent of the private sector payment
information came from independent commercial laboratories with only eight percent coming from
physician office laboratories (POLs) and one percent from hospital laboratories. Given that POLs and
hospitals account for 43 percent of Medicare Part B spending for outpatient laboratory tests, utilizing only
nine percent of the private sector data from these entities may create a payment structure that is
unrepresentative of the laboratory community. AACC urges you to direct CMS to delay implementation
of the new payment rates until it complies with the Appropriations Committee recommendation to
develop a fair and accurate payment model.
AACC is a global scientific and medical professional organization dedicated to clinical laboratory science
and its application to healthcare. AACC brings together more than 50,000 clinical laboratory
professionals, physicians, research scientists, and business leaders from around the world focused on
clinical chemistry, molecular diagnostics, mass spectrometry, translational medicine, lab management,
and other areas of laboratory science to advance healthcare collaboration, knowledge, expertise, and
We look forward to working with you on this important matter. If you have any questions, please email
Vince Stine, PhD, AACC Director of Government Affairs, at [email protected].
Michael J. Bennett PhD, FRCPath, FACB, DABCC