Surviving the PAMA Pinch
How the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA) will affect clinical laboratories – and what you can do about it
Eitan Akirav and Dieter Schapfel |
At a Glance
- Rising healthcare costs in the USA are negatively affecting the overall growth of the country’s economy
- In response to this challenge, the US Congress enacted the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA), which revises Medicare’s payment methodology for clinical laboratory tests
- Payment cutbacks will affect clinical laboratories’ ability to maintain adequate profit margins
- There are strategies, including product focus, laboratory test development, referencing out tests, and partnering with other labs, that can minimize PAMA’s effects
The PAMA problem
Healthcare costs are skyrocketing in the USA, surpassing US$3.4 trillion and totaling more than $10,000 per person in 2016 (1). With a growing number of aging Americans and an increase in life expectancy, these costs are expected to rise by approximately 5 percent per year over the next decade. If left unchecked, healthcare costs may top 25 percent of gross domestic product by 2025 – with a clear negative effect on the overall growth of the US economy.
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