CEO SUMMARY: Payers and health system administrators generally agree that healthcare is moving away from fee-for-service toward value-based payment. Because adoption of value-based contracts is slower for pathologists than for other providers, pathologists have the opportunity to define how provider systems can pay for value contributed by pathologists. However, to take advantage of this opportunity,
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Fee-for-service has long been the primary payment model for clinical laboratories and pathology groups. Fee-for-service (FFS) is a payment model in which services are paid for as itemized in the provider’s invoice. It gives an incentive for physicians to provide more treatments because payment is dependent on the quantity of care, rather than quality of care. Similarly, patients are incentivized to welcome any medical service that might not be necessary. Insurance companies shield themselves against ruin by setting cover limits for every beneficiary.
FFS raises costs, discourages the efficiencies of integrated care, and a variety of reform efforts have been attempted, recommended, or initiated to reduce its influence (such as moving towards bundled payments and capitation).
Medicare Parts A (hospital insurance) and B (optional insurance that covers physician, outpatient hospital, home health, laboratory tests, durable medical equipment, designated therapy, outpatient prescription drugs, and other services not covered by Part A) are FFS programs. Medicare processes over one billion FFS claims per year.
As part of the ongoing drive to cut healthcare costs, this model is gradually being phased out by payers and healthcare organizations in favor of value-based payment models, such as pay-for-performance programs and accountable care organizations that are intended to cap costs and spread financial risk among providers, while encouraging coordination of care, disease prevention and better management of chronic conditions. This is seen as a threat to the survival of clinical labs, which expect to see far fewer tests ordered by healthcare providers.
The Clinical Laboratory Management Association is working to help labs navigate these changes. “As fee-for-service reimbursement gives way to bundled reimbursement and per-member-per-month payment, labs will only be successful if they add value to physicians by helping them diagnose disease earlier and more accurately,” says CLMA President Paul Epner.
CLMA has named this program “Increasing Clinical Effectiveness,” or ICE. THE DARK REPORT is one of CLMA’s partners in this effort.
“Our hope is that ICE is a catalyst that helps lab administrators, pathologists, and medical laboratory scientists broaden the focus of their laboratory beyond operational efficiency to include measurable impact on positive patient outcomes,” says Epner.
CEO SUMMARY: Publication of the draft CMS Physician Fee Schedule on July 12 brought unwelcome news for the clinical lab industry, at least as it pertains to that perennial question: Should hospital lab outreach data be included in a PAMA market study? The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services must conduct a new market
CEO SUMMARY: New national lab contracts that LabCorp and Quest announced in May could disrupt the lab testing market in ways regional labs can exploit, experts said. Health plans entered these new contracts after realizing that the exclusive network contracts do not work, one lab consultant explained, adding that large national labs will compete with
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,
RECENTLY TWO OF THE NATION’S LARGEST HEALTH INSURERS abandoned a managed care contracting strategy that they adopted 11 years ago. Back in 2007, UnitedHealthcare and Aetna each were willing to grant exclusive national provider status to a single lab company in exchange for deeply-discounted lab best prices. (See TDRs, Oct. 16, 2006, Feb. 19, 2007, and
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center of Wake Forest, N.C., has been notified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), in a letter dated June 15, that it is back in compliance with Medicare Conditions of Participation. Earlier this year, following inspection of the hospital and its anatomic pathology department, federal and state officials identified
IT’S THE END OF AN ERA for the strategy of being the exclusive national lab provider for a major health insurer. Last week, the two largest clinical laboratory companies announced that the 10-year-old exclusive lab testing deals each had with a different big health insurer had crumbled.
In 2007, Laboratory Corporation of America locked up an
IT IS AN IMPORTANT SIGN OF THE TIMES when press releases about the two new national lab services agreements that UnitedHealthcare just announced with Laboratory Corporation of America and Quest Diagnostics emphasize how value-based programs will be an important element in the health insurer’s relationships with the two national lab companies.
In fact, the joint announcements
“Today, patients want to get diagnosis and treatment faster with fewer visits to the doctor’s office. They want speedier and more comprehensive delivery of clinical services, be it laboratory tests, imaging, or other procedures.”
—Ralph Taylor, President, Sysmex America, Inc.
CEO Summary: To bring testing closer to patients, clinical laboratories will need to offer sophisticated point-of-care systems
WE ARE NOW IN THE NEW YEAR and the 2018 Medicare Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule (CLFS) is a reality. The dramatic price cuts that the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has enacted is the single most disruptive financial event the clinical laboratory industry has faced in the past two decades.
As we have reported,