Mays melting pot of lab-oriented issues

May 1, 2003
Professional achievement
nominations solicited
Washington G-2 Reports announces its 2003 Laboratory Public Service National Leadership Award, an annual honor to recognize an individual who has made a significant contribution to the public interest through accomplishments that directly enhance patient care and the lab profession. Quest Diagnostics is the corporate sponsor for this award. Written entries must include name, title, organization, address and telephone number of both the nominee and nominator, along with a 300-word narrative in support of the nomination. Nomination forms may be obtained by calling 202-789-1034, or by visiting the Washington G-2 website, and must be received no later than June 30, 2003. The award includes a $1,000 honorarium, a commemorative crystal obelisk and expenses to attend the presentation ceremony at the Lab Institute 2003 program on October 9, 2003, in Arlington, VA.Updated CPT codes listedCurrent Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes provide a uniform language that accurately describes medical, surgical, and diagnostic services providing an effective means for reliable communication among physicians, patients and third parties. This system is the most widely accepted terminology for reporting physician procedures and services under government and private health insurance programs. Developed by the American Medical Association (AMA) in the 1960s, CPT has become part of the standard code set for Medicare and Medicaid. It has also, over the years, been adopted by private insurance carriers and managed-care companies, and is the
de facto standard for reporting healthcare services. Recently, the CMS made changes to the edit module used to process claims for 23 often-ordered lab tests subject to national coverage determinations (NCDs). Seven CPT codes in the blood count NCD have been deleted: 85022, 85023, 85024, 85042, 85590 and 85595, and a review of adding new blood count codes is underway. Track the changes at Changes to various codes with typographical errors have already been made in the Laboratory NCD Manual:
Changes in credentialingThe National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel Inc (NCA) eliminated application deadlines and quarterly scheduling requirements, effective Jan. 1 of this year. Candidates can apply at any time, and can schedule exam appointments upon confirmation of eligibility and scheduling instructions. The change applies to those who submitted applications in compliance with the Jan. 1 application deadline as previously required, but were then unable to schedule appointments until May or June. Also effective at the first of the year was the expansion of the Temporary Status by Qualification (TSQ) Certification Program to include the CLSp(MB) and CLSp(CG) exams. A modified TSQ application is available at Other changes include approval of a minimum score for the TOEFL exam, and the acceptance of international clinical experience under certain conditions.
Further changes in Medicare
physician reimbursements
Although Congress and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) halted the 4.4 percent physician payment cut that was scheduled to go into effect on March 1, CMS projects that next year Medicare physicians fees will take a 4.2 percent cut. The updated formula sets a $71.0 billion cap on spending in fiscal 2003 for physician services and a $454.6 billion cap from April 1996 through December 2003. Both caps will be exceeded, according to CMS projections, due to the 6 percent to 8 percent growth in volume of Medicare services in 2002, even with a 5.4 percent fee reduction last year. Future fee calculations will be negative based on this and the drop in per-capita gross domestic product.
, managing editor of MLO, formerly specialized in legislative issues for a major Washington, D.C. pharmaceutical association.
As has been the history of MLOs Washington Report, this space will be
devoted in 2003 to keeping readers abreast of ongoing issues and new legislation affecting the clinical laboratory and its professional managers and technicians. If there is a particular legislative question or a legislative topic of special interest to your organization, please e-mail:
[email protected].
May 2003: Vol. 35, No. 5
© 2003 Nelson Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.