With the goal of improving patient care, promoting innovation, and ensuring high quality testing for all, AACC’s advocacy efforts in 2016 have focused on four key areas: children’s health, laboratory-developed tests, harmonization, and reimbursement and the changing healthcare environment.
Laboratory testing plays a critical role in ensuring that infants, children, and adolescents receive high quality care. In particular, newborn screening—which is the practice of testing every newborn for treatable genetic conditions—prevents severe disability, developmental delays, or death in thousands of infants every year. The association actively supports efforts to enhance and expand newborn screening and to improve interpretation of pediatric test results overall by developing better pediatric reference intervals.
Laboratory-developed tests (LDTs) are created to fill unmet needs, such as when a commercial test is not available for a condition or an existing test must be refined to address a unique patient situation. As such, LDTs are a key component of patient care and an important source of innovation in healthcare. The association backs public policies that will improve the safety and effectiveness of these crucial tests while protecting patient access to them.
Patients’ lab results can disagree depending on where their tests are performed and what measurement procedures are used. AACC supports harmonizing—or ensuring uniformity—among these test results so that patients receive the same diagnosis regardless of where they get tested. Harmonization can improve patient care and outcomes by leading to better clinical guidelines and fewer medical errors, and by increasing patient involvement in care decisions.
Reimbursement and the Changing Healthcare Environment
Congress recently passed legislation that revises the clinical laboratory fee schedule to reflect private sector payments. This will significantly cut laboratory revenues, which could hinder patient access to care and test innovation, while also placing additional burdens on the laboratory workforce. AACC is collaborating with its laboratory partners to promote fair reimbursement and ensure patient access to quality testing.
Read AACC’s position statements and comment letters to learn more about these and other government issues of importance to laboratory scientists.