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CMS Clinical Lab Competitive Bidding Project Comes Under Fire

CMS is launching a clinical laboratory competitive bidding system, and the medical device and clinical laboratory industries are not happy. CMS selected the San Diego area as the first of two locations for a competitive bidding demonstration.

The concern from industry is that the program will encourage a focus on cost rather than the benefits of diagnostics. AdvaMed released a statement late yesterday, which says in part that "the clinical laboratory competitive bidding project is focused primarily on cost rather than quality, value and patient benefit. A competitive bidding scheme based primarily on cost may inadvertently sacrifice the value of clinical laboratory services in delivering high quality of care. It may also artificially reduce the number of clinical lab choices available to patients as smaller, specialized labs are unable to compete on cost factors with larger organizations." The American Clinical Laboratory Association's statement was even more negative, as it deemed the project "ill-conceived" and "unfixable" and called for Congress to repeal it. As we have stated before in editorials, it is very harmful to take a short-sighted view when it comes to diagnostics technology, but that appears to be what CMS and Congress are doing. This does affect diagnostics equipment manufacturers, and it is good to see that AdvaMed has taken a public stance on this.

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