Chuck and Cover

  • by: |
  • 12/10/2007
Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) has introduced legislation to modernize Medicare reimbursement policies for certain laboratory tests such as molecular diagnostics. The Advanced Medical Technology Association said that the legislation would help ensure continued innovation and patient access to important diagnostic tools.

The legislation also has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives as the Medicare Advanced Laboratory Diagnostics Act (H.R. 1321), where it is sponsored by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), Rep. Michael Ferguson (R-NJ), Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), and Rep. Phil English (R-PA).

Though these tests make up less than 2 percent of hospital costs, their findings influence as much as 70 percent of healthcare decision-making, the group said. It said the current Medicare reimbursement system provides few incentives to develop new tests which are critical to the future of healthcare.

The groups said the bill provides for significant reforms to outdated Medicare reimbursement policies that threaten to stifle innovation and the widespread diffusion of technologies. This includes establishing a demonstration project to test a new Medicare payment system for certain molecular diagnostics, allowing for a process to adjust items still on the Clinical Lab Fee Schedule through an appeals process to correct historic errors that set inadequate reimbursement for diagnostic tests, and improving processes for obtaining adequate reimbursement for new diagnostic lab tests.

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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