Sending Office: Honorable Bill Flores
Sent By:
Christopher.Taylor@mail.house.gov

Dear Colleague:

American families expect an efficient and competent federal government to work with health care providers not against them in ensuring the efficient delivery of health care. Yet, CMS’s failure to implement the
Taking Essential Steps for Testing Act of 2012, or TEST Act, is a notable example of bureaucratic incompetence that as it odds with the efficient delivery health care.

I urge you to support my amendment to redirect CMS administrative overhead spending towards true health care solutions.

What does this Amendment Do?

The amendment redirects $120 million in CMS administrative overhead spending (a 3.5% reduction) towards three true solutions for better health care: $40 million for pediatric cancer research, $40 million for Alzheimer’s research, and an additional $40 million
to address our country’s opioid crisis.

Why is this Amendment Needed?

CMS needs to reconsider its implementation of the TEST Act.  In the meantime, this amendment not only redirects funds towards true health care solutions, it sends an important message to CMS: This is not how we expect our federal government to act
in a time when we are articulating a new vision for building a better health care system. And at the onset of a new administration, now is the time to right the bureaucratic wrongs of the past.

Background

In 2012, the TEST Act was passed and signed into law in response to the mandatory and harsh sanctions that CMS was imposing on hospitals and labs that violated the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments Act, or CLIA. While CLIA regulations are
necessary, in some instances the sanctions imposed against hospitals and laboratories that committed inadvertent violations were found to be draconian and at odds with the delivery of efficient health care. These punitive sanctions included revoking lab certificates
and banning principals from owning or operating a certified laboratory.

The TEST Act was passed to provide CMS with the discretion to substitute reasonable alternative sanctions in the event of minor or inadvertent violations, including directed plans of action, on-site monitoring, and/or modest monetary penalties.

Yet despite being given this mandate and flexibility, CMS has written its regulations and interpreted the underlying statutes in a way that are plainly at odds with Congressional intent under the
TEST Act.

There are serious impacts when CMS fails to use their given discretionary authority to issue appropriate sanctions. Health care providers are forced to divert resources to an appeals process that should not have been needed in the first place. This drives
up administrative costs and negatively impacts patient care by forcing hospitals and laboratories to divert finite resources towards an unnecessary bureaucratic process instead of taking care of patients.

If you have any questions, please contact Chris Taylor at
Christopher.Taylor@mail.house.gov
.

With great respect,

Bill Flores

Member of Congress

Related Legislative Issues
Selected legislative information: Appropriations, HealthCare
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