Federal Programs That Lower Hospital Readmissions Rates Impact Medical Laboratories Inpatient Test Ordering

Medical laboratory inpatient test volume may continue to decline as the Medicare hospital readmission reduction program expands in 2017 and state population health programs garner funding  We are now several years into the Medicare program that is designed to reduce hospital readmissions. Statistics from these years show encouraging progress in reducing the readmission rate of Medicare patients. This is a trend that has important implications for all hospital-based clinical laboratories....

As Medical Laboratory Test Utilization Grows, Health Insurers Develop Programs to Manage Rising Costs

After seeing a rise in the volume of clinical lab tests physicians order, managed care plans are develop a variety of strategies to manage utilization and costs Health insurers are taking more aggressive actions to control the cost of clinical laboratory testing. For many years, clinical laboratories and pathology groups have been concerned about the strategies used by Medicare to control the utilization and costs of medical laboratory tests. Private health insurers usually follow the actions...

American Medical Association and PBS Both Join Pathology Profession in Publicizing Why Declining Autopsy Rates May Hurt Quality of Healthcare

Pathologists point out that autopsies consistently reveal doctors make a high rate of diagnostic errors—even with increasingly sophisticated imaging equipment Pathologists and public health officials say the downward trend in autopsy rates is having far-reaching consequences for healthcare in the United States. The decline in the number of autopsies performed annually comes in spite of extensive literature documenting multiple benefits of the autopsy procedure. No less an authority than the...

Why Congress Is Considering Deep Cuts to Medical Laboratory Test Fees

Nation’s clinical laboratories may see significant reductions in federal funding for medical laboratory tests in the 2012 federal budget Unprecedented cuts in funding for clinical laboratory services are expected from Congress in coming months. That’s because federal legislators need deep cuts from many sources to cope with the current budget crisis. It is also why some Beltway insiders predict that fees for medical laboratory testing will be substantially reduced. Although many lab industry...

CMS Proposes Preauthorization Imaging Services, a Dangerous Precedent for Laboratory Testing

MedPAC recommendation targets high-cost imaging done in physician’s offices Following the lead of some private insurers, Medicare may soon require preauthorization for high-cost imaging tests—including CT, MRI and PET scans—done in physician offices. This is one of two strategies aimed at reducing payments for Part B physician radiology services that was recommended by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) in its report to Congress in March. The General Accounting Office (GAO)...