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Amendments to CLIA’s Proficiency Testing Provisions Passed by Congress

Posted in Clinical Laboratories

The Senate approved the previously House-passed Taking Essential Steps for Testing Act  (also known as the “TEST Act”) this week, clearing the way for President Obama’s signature and enactment.  The legislation, which amends a provision of the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA), makes clear that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has the authority to impose intermediate sanctions instead of revoking the CLIA certificate of a laboratory that has referred a proficiency testing sample to another laboratory.  The TEST Act was introduced by Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY), and it quickly gained wide bipartisan support.  According to the American Clinical Laboratory Association, “[t]he bill grants [CMS] much-needed discretion so that clinical laboratories will not have their CLIA certificates revoked for the unintentional referral of proficiency testing samples to other laboratories.”   The legislation also received support from the College of American Pathologists.