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Bilirakis: How Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Collect Data Needs Improvement

July 2, 2019 - 9:00am
Gus Bilirakis
Gus Bilirakis

U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., is part of a group of congressmen on Capitol Hill pushing the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) to study focused on improving how the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) handles lab services, including collecting data and reimbursements. 

Bilirakis joined U.S. Reps. George Holding, R-NC, Richard Hudson, R-NC, Bill Pascrell, D-NJ, Kurt Schrader, D-Oreg. and Scott Peters, D-Calif., in showcasing the “Laboratory Access for Beneficiaries (LAB) Act” on Monday.  

“This bill directs the National Academy of Medicine (NAM)—in consultation with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)—to conduct a study and make recommendations to improve how CMS collects data on lab reimbursements for life-saving lab services. In addition to the NAM-CMS study, the LAB Act will delay the next round of data reporting for one year, giving both CMS and labs additional time to collect complete and accurate data. Without a broad and representative collection of data, CMS’s current reimbursement methodology could underpay for lab services. This could cause small labs in rural locations to close, leaving seniors without a lab close to them and potentially higher costs for critical testing,” Bilirakis’ office noted. 

The congressmen weighed in as to why they had introduced the proposal.  

“Seniors deserve access to high quality medical care, which includes diagnostic tests which can save lives through early detection and individualized assessment of need.  Our bipartisan legislation will help to ensure that continued access and I urge my colleagues to expedite its passage,” said Bilirakis. 

“Seniors have different health care needs, and diagnostic testing is one of the most effective ways to individualize care. We must preserve seniors’ access to this vital testing and ensure CMS pays competitive rates for the lab work, which saves taxpayers money,” said Peters who introduced the bill last week. 

The bill was sent to the U.S. House Ways and Means and the Energy and Commerce Committees last week. So far, there is no counterpart over in the U.S. Senate. 

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