October 6, 2003 -- Posted at 4:54 P.M.
JONESBORO, AR -- Health-care professionals at the Doctors' Anatomic Pathology Services Laboratory in Jonesboro gave Congressman Marion Berry a tour of their facility.
"Most of the smaller hospitals in the area can not furnish the services we provide here," said Dr. Joseph Wilson." So they send their specimens here."
According to Dr. Wilson, their services could be in jeopardy due to pending medicare legislation. The legislation would affect payment policies for independent laboratories.
The system currently works like this: Independent laboratories directly bill medicare for their services, and medicare than reimburses them. Under the proposed legislation, billing would be split in half; medicare and hospitals would receive a bill from the lab.
"If the hospitals perceive that this is costing them too musch and that they can't afford it, then they'll have to give up the provision of these services," said Dr. Wilson.
Congressman Berry says the health-care bill that passed the House and Senate is horrible. Currently, he's working in conference committee to draft a new bill.
"The health-care system in this country is almost totally dependent on medicare," said Berry. "This is totally a critical issue."