NEW YORK – Following passage of continuing resolutions (CR) by the Senate and the House of Representatives this week, lab test reimbursement cuts and price reporting requirements called for under the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA) are likely to be delayed one year.
On Tuesday, the House passed a continuing resolution that included the implementation of PAMA by one year, and on Wednesday, the Senate passed its own version of the resolution. Once President Biden signs the bill into law, which he is expected to do before the end of the week, the PAMA price cuts slated to go into effect at the beginning of 2024 will be put off for another year. This makes the fifth year in a row Congress has passed a one-year delay to PAMA implementation.
In a statement issued Wednesday, the National Independent Laboratory Association (NILA) applauded the inclusion of the delay in the CR, though it noted that it will continue to push for the Saving Access to Laboratory Services Act (SALSA), which would make a number of permanent changes to PAMA supported by much of the lab industry.
On Thursday, the American Clinical Laboratory Association likewise issued a statement commending inclusion of the delay in the CR while adding that the organization will continue to advocate for passage of SALSA.
Passage of SALSA this year was seen by many as a longshot given the House leadership disarray and Congress' general difficulty in coming to agreement on a long-term spending bill. Some observers also expressed concern that passage of even a one-year delay could prove challenging.