how toxicology labs can deal with cuts in reimbursement
Last year, the federal government made a move to cut reimbursements made to toxicology laboratories. This is expected to save the government over $3 billion in the next five years. Although this may make a positive impact to the federal government, it cannot be said the same about toxicology laboratories in the U.S. Like every other decision made, the move to cut the amount of money budgeted for the toxicology laboratories has both positive and negative impacts on them. Some of the impacts of these reimbursement cuts include:
- Decreased services. The fee cuts have reduced the services offered to the home-bound patient and house calls to such patients. The 24-hour emergency testing has also been stopped.
- A decrease in the workforce. Due to the cut on fee disbursed for this purpose, there has been a reduction of the workforce in some of the laboratories in order to adapt to the limited budget.
- Financial discipline. The cuts have also led to the adoption of new financial regulations by the laboratories in order to cope with the changes. Some laboratories are even evaluating the lists of their clients depending on the location, patient population, and cost.
How Laboratories Are Adapting to the Change
Despite the reimbursement cuts, most labs persist, and some even thrive. This is because the labs have applied, and are continuing to adopt, measures to cope with the cuts. Some of these adaptations include:
- Specializations. The laboratories are able to benefit from separate payment and reporting requirements by the Advanced Diagnostic laboratory tests.
- Consolidations. Laboratories can adapt to the cuts by use of strategic amalgamations as well as joint ventures. This will allow them an easier way of serving you.
- Contract negotiations. The laboratories can prioritize on contract negotiations with private payers and hospitals.
- Value addition. Professional lab experts can use their clinical experience to add value by advising clinicians on suitable test orders as well as giving intensified interpretations on the tests.
Though the reimbursement cuts will save the government a lot of money, they create obvious drawbacks for laboratory firms. With the right strategic adaptations, business can go on more or less as usual. If you are in the toxicology businesses, these cuts should inspire your firm to come up with creative ways of staying up.
Topics: Clinical Diagnostics