June 27, 2022 Intelligence: Late-Breaking Lab News

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Efforts to revise the much-criticized methods Medicare officials use to establish prices the government pays clinical laboratories under the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA) of 2014 got a boost last week. On June 22, a bipartisan bill to accomplish that was introduced in the U.S. Senate. The new Saving Access to Laboratory Services Act will adjust lab reporting of private sector payer rates to “create a more representative, sustainable, and market-based [clinical laboratory fee schedule],” according to the bill’s authors. This legislation would also reduce reporting periods from every three years to every four years. 

MORE ON: Laboratory Data Reporting

Under PAMA, labs are required to regularly collect and report data on what private insurers paid for lab tests. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services used that data to lower prices for lab tests in 2018, 2019, and 2020. Another payment cut was scheduled for Jan. 1, 2021, but it has been delayed until next year. Lawmakers behind the proposed Saving Access to Laboratory Services Act said data collection under PAMA has been flawed, with independent labs overrepresented and hospital labs underrepresented.

BECTON DICKINSON,MAYO CLINIC ENTER DATA-SHARE DEAL 

In another example of in vitro diagnostics companies having interest in clinical data, Becton, Dickinson and Company in Franklin Lakes, N.J., announced a new collaboration with Mayo Clinic Platform in Rochester, Minn., to access deidentified patient records. This information includes 1.2 billion laboratory test results. 

INTERMOUNTAIN ENTERS NEW DIGITAL PATHOLOGY DEAL

Digital pathology capabilities at Intermountain Healthcare are getting a boost. The respected integrated delivery network (IDN) has teamed up with Gestalt Diagnostics in Spokane, Wash., and Hamamatsu Photonics K.K. in Japan. Pathologists will be using Hamamatsu’s whole-slide imaging technology with Gestalt’s image management system. Intermountain, based in Salt Lake City, said the deal will help advance its use of digital pathology in patient care.

TRANSITIONS

Ken Bloom, MD, was named Head of Pathology at Nucleai in San Clemente, Calif., which develops a machine learning platform for pathologists. He was most recently Chief Medical Officer of Advanced Pathology and Genomic Services at Invicro and Ambry Genetics. Bloom also served at Clarient.

• Baptist Health in Boynton Beach, Fla., announced that Rachel Scott is the new lab director. Previously, she served at HCA Healthcare and Trinity Hospital in Ohio.

That’s all the insider intelligence for this report. Look for the next briefing on Monday, July 18, 2022.

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