Congress passes CARES Act

On March 27, 2020, the President signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act represents the third largest stimulus bill passed by Congress in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and with $2 trillion in allocations, it is the largest stimulus bill in U.S. history.

For the stakeholders in the diagnostic community, there were a few key/critical provisions.

PAMA: The CARES Act has two key provisions – (1) delaying the reporting of market-based data until 2022 (from 2021); and (2) holding the 2021 CLFS rates at 2020 level, capping the reduction of 0% (and delaying the 15% cap until 2022).

Sequestration: The CARES Act suspends Medicare sequestration payment reductions from May 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020.

Payment for COVID-19 Testing: The CARES Act establishes some requirements for setting the payment rates for COVID-19 testing.

There are additional provisions including funding provisions that may be applicable. Analysis of the healthcare provisions in the CARES ACT can be found here.