CEO SUMMARY: Innovative clinical labs and pathology groups are absorbing this year’s Medicare Part B price cuts while continuing to pursue opportunities to add value. A common theme from many speakers at last week’s Executive War College in New Orleans is that the lab must get mastery of its LIS and informatics specifically to enable
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Medicare Part B medical insurance helps pay for some services and products not covered by Part A (hospital insurance) for Americans aged 65 and older who have worked and paid into the system. It also provides health insurance to younger people with disabilities.
Part B coverage begins once a patient meets his or her deductible ($147 in 2013), then typically Medicare covers 80% of approved services, while the remaining 20% is paid by the patient, either directly or indirectly by private Medigap insurance.
For clinical labs and pathology groups, Part B covers laboratory and diagnostic tests. Laboratory tests include certain blood tests, urinalysis, tests on tissue specimens, and some screening tests. They must be provided by a laboratory that meets Medicare requirements.
Complex rules are used to manage the benefit, and advisories are periodically issued which describe coverage criteria. On the national level these advisories are issued by CMS, and are known as National Coverage Determinations (NCD). Local Coverage Determinations (LCD) apply within the multi-state area managed by a specific regional Medicare Part B contractor, and Local Medical Review Policies (LMRP) were superseded by LCDs in 2003.
Medicare Part B payments make up about 15% of the revenue of the two biggest national lab companies. By contrast, it is common for community labs to have between 30% and 65% of their revenue come from Medicare Part B payments.
Part B coverage can also be provided by private insurers through Medicare Advantage Plans. Enrollment in private Medicare Advantage plans has more than doubled since 2006, according to the New York Times. As these plans gain popularity, clinical labs and pathology groups continue to find themselves without access to patients they once served. Medicare beneficiaries now enrolled in Advantage plans comprise nearly one-third of all Medicare beneficiaries.
Generally speaking, growth in Medicare Advantage enrollment favors the national labs, with private insurers providing them exclusive network contracts. This means less market access to these patients by community labs.
CEO SUMMARY: Several developments have moved the case forward since December when the American Clinical Laboratory Association filed suit in federal court against the Department of Health and Human Services. Inrecent weeks, ACLA filed for summary judgment; HHS responded with its own request for summary judgment; and most recently ACLA filed its rebuttal to the
CEO SUMMARY: When the American Clinical Laboratory Association filed its lawsuit Dec. 11 against the Secretary of Health and Human Services, one of its main claims is that HHS collected payment data on the clinical laboratory testing business in a manner that was deeply flawed. HHS then used that flawed data to set payment rates
DEEP PRICE CUTS to the Medicare Part B Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule was the big story of 2017. The big story of 2018 may be the widespread financial disruption to the clinical lab industry as labs see dramatic declines in their revenue from these Medicare fee cuts.
One early opportunity for lab administrators and pathologists to
CEO SUMMARY: Experts in lab compliance predict that clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups must anticipate tougher enforcement of federal and state laws this year. One source of increased compliance risk for lab companies is the rising use of third-party marketing agreements. David Gee, an experienced lab industry attorney at Davis Wright Tremaine, said lab
CEO SUMMARY: Anticipating the negative financial impact of the Medicare 2018 Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule, a community lab company serving 24 nursing homes on the Jersey Shore stopped offering such services at the end of last year, a lab director told THE DARK REPORT. “The same forces driving this laboratory to close its nursing home
CEO SUMMARY: Members of Joint Venture Hospital Laboratories in Michigan anticipate that the 2018 Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule rates being implemented under PAMA will lower payment from Medicare to less than the cost of running tests, especially for rural and critical access hospitals. CMS established the 2018 CLFS under the Patient Access to Medicare Act
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,
1. CMS Sticks by Decision to Deeply Cut Medicare Part B Lab Test Fees
SHORT OF A MIRACLE, the clinical laboratory industry is less than three weeks from the single most financially-disruptive event of the past 30 years. On Jan. 1, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will impose deep cuts to Part B
CEO SUMMARY: In hindsight, 2017 is likely to be remembered as a milestone year that launched several disruptive developments that will reshape the lab industry moving forward. For the clinical laboratory sector this year, CMS confirmed its intent to slash Part B clinical laboratory test prices aggressively, effective Jan. 1. For the anatomic pathology sector