Document: Health Care Reform Resolution - ASCLS 2009 House of Delegates
Classification: Position Paper
Date: July 25, 2009
Status: Approved

Whereas the goal of health care reform in the United States should be to support the following:

  • Assure affordable, quality health coverage for all Americans
  • Guarantee choice of health care providers and health plans
  • Invest in prevention and wellness
  • End barriers to coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions
  • Improve patient safety and quality of care

ASCLS reaffirms the following principles as stated in the position statement on Health Care Reform, approved by the 1995 ASCLS House of Delegates.

ASCLS supports access to accurate and reliable laboratory testing
Since most of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality cannot be diagnosed, treated or monitored without laboratory services, access should include choices of laboratory providers as well as an appropriate geographical distribution of services, especially in rural and underserved areas. Funding for the adequate training of laboratory professionals must be provided in order to assure continued availability of services.

Health care reform must include a mechanism to monitor quality. When incentives exist to reduce expenditures, provisions must consistently be made to ensure quality is not compromised

ASCLS supports reimbursement at appropriate levels for quality services.
Any change in funding that simply cuts reimbursement for health care services is short-sighted and jeopardizes access to and quality of laboratory testing. In order to achieve sustainable cost effectiveness in health care, reimbursement for laboratory services must support quality systems and adequate staffing of qualified laboratory professionals.

The current Medicare Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule no longer reflects the day-to-day realities of the workplace and inhibits development of new technologies. ASCLS supports HR 1452, the Modernization of the Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule legislation, in order to assure reimbursement for laboratory services that better reflects the cost of laboratory testing.

ASCLS supports the efficient and cost effective delivery of laboratory services.
The concept of comparative effectiveness presents an opportunity for this country to better utilize healthcare services. Research must include appropriate utilization of laboratory services determined with effective input from the clinical laboratory community. Laboratory professionals should also be involved in patient safety initiatives and outcomes measurement, essential to determine the effect of a particular intervention on total patient care. The clinical laboratory professional has the required expertise and must contribute to these endeavors, therefore:

Be it resolved:
Any health care reform package must provide for quality clinical laboratory services, access to those services and equitable reimbursement.

Be it resolved:
ASCLS endorses broad participation of clinical laboratory professionals in the national dialogue and formulation of reform to the United States health care system