The National Society for Histotechnology is a proud partner of The American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS) Legislative Symposium each fall. During the event members of ASCLS and their partner organizations come to Washington D.C. to provide a visible and informed voice, and make our concerns known inside Congress. Day one involves regulatory and legislation updates. Day two sends attendees out for visits with their representatives in Congress.
The American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA) has lead advocacy efforts on The SALSA Act and along with colleagues from the and the National Independent Laboratory Association (NILA) provided an overview and update on the legislation to event attendees.
The SALSA Act – What's in a Name?
The "SALSA Act," or Saving Access to Laboratory Services Act, is a comprehensive piece of legislation designed to address the financial hardships faced by clinical laboratories across the United States since the flawed implementation of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA) passed by Congress in 2014.
PAMA was designed to align Medicare payment for clinical labs with prevailing market rates across the country. Unfortunately, the first round of market data was collected from less than one percent of the nation’s laboratories – far from representative of market rates. The Congressional Budget Office originally projected $2.5 billion in cuts to reimbursement rates over 10 years if PAMA was implemented as Congress intended; however, the last three rounds of cuts have already reached $4 billion. Unless Congress takes action, cuts up to 15 percent for approximately 800 tests under the Medicare Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule (CLFS) are scheduled for January of 2024. (1)
SALSA currently has over 50 congressional co-sponsors and over 70 stakeholder partners including patient advocacy, consumer, and provider organizations. SALSA’s aim is to simplify the data reporting process by providing the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) with the authority to collect data from a statistical sampling of all major types of laboratories providing representative private market data to achieve accurate and sustainable Medicare rates for laboratory services. SALSA works to mitigate the next three years of up to 15% cuts eliminating cuts in 2024, a max 2.5% payment cut in 2024 and a max 5% payment cut in 2026. The legislation also establishes future guardrails on payment increases and decreases.
For more information on The SALSA Act and ways to advocate for the legislation visit www.stoplabcuts.org