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Medicare raises payments to increase high-throughput COVID-19 testing

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CMS will almost double payments for COVID-19 diagnostic tests run on high-throughput equipment, the agency announced Wednesday.

The increased payment of $100 per test, up from $51, is intended to increase use of high-throughput platforms.

“Medicare will pay the higher payment of $100 for COVID-19 clinical diagnostic lab tests making use of high-throughput technologies developed by the private sector that allow for increased testing capacity, faster results, and more effective means of combating the spread of the virus,” CMS said in a press release.

Executives at testing labs told the White House Coronavirus Task Force that inadequate reimbursement is one of the reasons that “a lot of labs are just not performing these tests,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma told reporters Wednesday. “There is a lot of unused capacity” that could be unleashed as a result of the higher payment level, she added.

Examples of high-throughput platforms cited in a CMS rule include two instruments from Roche (SIX:ROG; OTCQX:RHHBY), the cobas 6800 and cobas 8800 systems; the m2000 system from Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT); Panther Fusion System from Hologic Inc. (NASDAQ:HOLX); GeneXpert Infinity System from the Cepheid unit of Danaher Corp. (NYSE:DHR); and NeuMoDx 288 Molecular from NeuMoDx Molecular Inc.

Further analysis of the coronavirus crisis can be found at https://www.biocentury.com/coronavirus.

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