In This Issue...
Congress Considering Short-term SGR Patch
Congress is once more considering a short-term ‘patch’ to deal with pending cuts in physician payments as a result of flaws in the physician sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula. Each year the SGR recommends deep cuts in physician reimbursement. Only with congressional intervention have these reductions, often ranging between 20-30 percent, been averted.
This year, the House and Senate have been working on legislation to permanently correct this problem. However, the two chambers have been unable to agree on how to raise the $150 billion to cover the budgetary shortfall. Congress must act before March 31st or the physician cuts will take effect. In the short-term, the House and Senate are considering a short-term extension to prevent the physician cuts from taking place. Although legislators have not stated how they will pay for this ‘patch,’ rumors are that laboratory payments are once more on the short list—as in 2012 when lab reimbursement was cut by two percent.
AACC opposes any additional cuts in lab reimbursement. The Association urges you to contact your congressional representatives in opposition to further payment reductions. GAU will keep you abreast of any further developments.
Rep. Camp Releases Draft Tax Reform Plan
Rep. Dave Camp, Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, released draft legislation, the Tax Reform Act of 2014, which restructures the corporate and individual tax rates. In addition, the measure would repeal the medical device excise tax. Included in the 2010 Affordable Care Act, medical device manufacturers must pay a 2.3 percent tax on the sale of their device at a cost of $29 billion annually. AACC supports the repeal of the medical device excise tax.
CLIAC Charter Renewed
On March 6th, the Department of Health and Human Services renewed the charter for the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Advisory Committee (CLIAC) through 2016. This longstanding panel advises the government agencies—the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-- responsible for implementing the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988. The first Chair of CLIAC was former AACC President Morton K. Schwartz, PhD, FACB.