Cottie Petrie-Norris

Legislature passes bill to keep laboratory jobs based in California

In an effort to keep high-paying jobs in the state and maintain a robust laboratory force to provide COVID-19 testing, the Legislature has passed Assembly Bill 1327 with bipartisan support.

Congressional action in 2018 upended the intent of California’s 2012 Budget Act which maintained a California market-based method to determine the fee-for-service Medi-Cal reimbursement rate for lab services. The result is an automatic cut to our carefully calculated Medi-Cal lab rates. By removing the cap, California labs can avoid this federally triggered cut and operate how the state originally intended them to do so.

“When I heard that laboratories were considering moving out-of-state to conduct their services at lower rates, I convened meetings with the Department of Health Care Services and businesses to ensure these quality jobs and services stay in California,” said AB 1327 Author Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach). “Laboratories provide 75,826 jobs in California and we must keep them here in order to support the health and economy of our state throughout COVID-19.”

“AB 1327 will help Medi-Cal patients maintain access to important clinical laboratory tests,” said Kristi Foy of the California Clinical Laboratory Association. “The bill will also allow laboratories to increase testing for COVID-19, while expanding infrastructure to accommodate the expected increase in testing due to the upcoming flu season.”

“As a leading provider of sexual and reproductive health care, Planned Parenthood’s ability to provide compassionate, affordable health care to nearly three-quarters of a million Californians is largely dependent upon fair Medi-Cal lab rates. That’s why Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California is proud to support AB 1327,” says Jodi Hicks, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California. “This bill will ensure Medi-Cal lab rates are not subject to additional cuts that would disproportionately harm safety-net providers and will allows for adequate reimbursement for critical health care services, like STI tests.”

By avoiding federally triggered cuts, AB 1327 will maintain the policy intent of California set in 2012 and ensure the state retains high-quality jobs that help provide critical lab services in the fight against COVID-19.

AB 1327 is supported by: California Clinical Laboratory Association (Sponsor), Ascend, California Association of Public Health Laboratory Directors, California Society of Pathologists, Laboratory Corporation of America, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, Quest Diagnostics, Spectra Laboratories and Veracyte, Inc.

The Governor has until September 30, 2020 to take action on this legislation.

This article was released by the Office of Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris.