Outpatient clinical laboratory services are paid based on the Medicare Part B Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule (CLFS) in accordance with Section 1833(h) of the Social Security Act. Payment is the lesser of the amount billed, the local fee for a geographic area, or a national limit. In accordance with the statute, the national limits are set at a percent of the median of all local fee schedule amounts for each laboratory test code. Each year, fees are updated for inflation based on the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index. However, legislation by Congress can modify the update to the fees.
Co-payments and deductibles do not apply to services paid under the Medicare clinical laboratory fee schedule.
Each year, new laboratory test codes are added to the clinical laboratory fee schedule and corresponding fees are developed in response to a public comment process. Also, for a cervical or vaginal smear test (Pap smear), the fee cannot be less than a national minimum payment amount, initially established at $14.60 and updated each year for inflation.
Critical access hospitals are paid for outpatient laboratory services on a reasonable cost basis, instead of by the fee schedule. Hospitals with fewer than 50 beds in qualified rural areas—those with population densities in the lowest quartile of all rural areas—are paid based on a reasonable cost basis for outpatient clinical laboratory tests for cost reporting periods between July 2004 and July 2006.
The Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 (PAMA) that became law on April 1, 2014, required labs to report such data and the test volumes associated with that data, beginning on Jan. 1, 2016.
On Jan. 1, 2017, CMS will use the market data to set prices for the Part B Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule. As currently written, PAMA specifies that CMS cannot cut the price of a specific lab test by more than 10% in each of 2017, 2018, and 2019, nor by more than 15% in each of 2020, 2021, and 2022. There is no limit on price reductions outlined in the law for years following 2022.
Traditionally, the new year is a time of optimism. People make resolutions such as exercising more and losing weight. Companies get to start the year with a fresh budget and the new opportunity to achieve their goals.
Unfortunately, events of the last 90 days of this year are not auspicious for clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology
CEO SUMMARY: On Nov. 2, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released its Physician Fee Schedule for 2019. It says it will expand the number of labs from which it collects data about the lab test prices paid by private health insurers. While some labs may welcome these changes, groups representing clinical laboratories
How many consecutive 10% and 15% cuts to the prices Medicare pays for clinical laboratory tests can smaller community labs absorb before they are forced to shut their doors and go out of business? This nation is about to find out. As this happens, Medicare beneficiaries (and their physicians) in small towns and rural areas
CEO SUMMARY: Many lab professionals were disappointed at the news that a federal judge dismissed the American Clinical Laboratory Association’s arguments in its lawsuit against the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In an interview, the ACLA’s lead lawyer on the case discussed the key issues and explained ACLA’s claims about how HHS
CEO SUMMARY: While acknowledging that the American Clinical Laboratory Association raises important questions in its case against the federal Department of Health and Human Services, a district court judge ruled that the court cannot resolve the dispute and dismissed the ACLA’s claims for lack of “subject matter jurisdiction.” While not dismissing it outright, the judge
CEO SUMMARY: Publication of the draft Medicare Physician Fee Schedule on July 12 brought unwelcome news for the clinical lab industry, at least as it pertains to whether hospital lab outreach data should be included in the PAMA market study that the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services must conduct. In the draft rule,
CEO SUMMARY: Despite the challenges hospital and health system laboratory outreach programs face today, there are many ways they can remain viable, according to an outreach expert from Mayo Medical Laboratories. By taking specific steps to increase volume and the value they provide, lab outreach programs can keep their costs down while bringing in more