Community Clinical Lab Companies Hard Hit by Medicare Lab Test Fee Cuts and Owners Fear Negative Financial Consequences of Coming Price Cuts

Smaller community laboratories serve many of the nation’s nursing homes and long-term care facilities, and ongoing medical lab fee cuts are having major negative consequences

DATELINE: LAS VEGAS, NEVADA—Last week, the National Independent Laboratory Association (NILA), in conjunction with the Association of American Bioanalysts (AAB), conducted its annual conference here. It was a useful snapshot on the state of health for independent community lab companies, particularly given the different reimbursement environment for clinical laboratory testing.

NILA’s members are primarily community clinical laboratories. They generate revenue anywhere from $1 million per year to around $100 million per year. It is believed that there are between 150 and 200 of these types of lab companies across the United States. Further, within the towns and cities they serve, these are often the only medical laboratory organizations that fill important testing niches that were abandoned years ago by the national public lab companies. (more…)

Good News for Clinical Pathology Laboratories: Medicare Officials Intend to Rescind Rule Requiring Physician Signatures on Paper Lab Reqs

CMS says it will take steps to rescind the final rule before its scheduled implementation on April 1, 2011

Clinical laboratories and pathology groups will welcome the news that the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will take steps to rescind the final rule that requires the physician’s signature be on all paper requisitions for medical laboratory tests ordered on behalf of Medicare patients. It means that implementation of the rule—now scheduled to become effective on April 1, 2011—will not happen if CMS officials act in a timely manner.

Dark Daily has learned that last Friday a conference call took place involving Jonathan Blum, Director of the Center for Medicare Management, and representatives from the American Association of Bioanalysts (AAB) and the American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA). During the conference call, Blum disclosed that a decision had been reached within CMS to rescind the final rule that would require physicians’ signatures on paper requisitions for medical laboratory tests. Apparently, CMS intends to take the steps necessary to rescind this final rule before its effective date of April 1, 2011.

Feds to Destroy Bid Documents for Medicare’s Clinical Laboratory Competitive Bidding Demonstration Project in San Diego

Following an agreement by federal attorneys to destroy the lab bidder’s documents, a federal judge dismisses the case

Last month in a San Diego courtroom, federal attorneys agreed to destroy the clinical pathology laboratory bid documents that had been submitted as part of the poorly-conceived Medicare Part B Laboratory Competitive Bidding Demonstration Project that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) attempted to implement in 2008.

An agreement to destroy the bid documents was negotiated agreement between attorneys for the plaintiff clinical laboratories and federal attorneys for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).