Updated January 15, 2014
The College of American Pathologists (CAP) has established four accreditation programs; Laboratory Accreditation Program (LAP), Forensic Drug Testing (FDT), Reproductive Laboratory Program (RLAP), and the Biorepository Accreditation Program (BAP).
The four laboratory accreditation programs are all created with the primary objective of improving the quality of clinical laboratory services. The LAP, BAP, FDT, and RLAP employ voluntary participation, professional peer review, education, and compliance with established performance standards. Since their creation, these programs have become widely acknowledged for excellence. In all, the College accredits more than 7,000 laboratories.
Request an application or for more information on the Laboratory Accreditation Program.
Request an application or get more information on Specialty Programs (RLAP, FDT or BAP)
1. What is the first step for becoming accredited by CAP?
First, you must decide whether you are applying for accreditation with the CAP or another organization. If you choose to apply to the CAP:
- Complete and submit the online contact information form.
- Download and complete the application form. A link will appear once #1 is submitted.
- Mail or fax the application to the number/address referenced at the bottom of the form. A non-refundable application fee is required to initiate the accreditation process.
2. What are the basic requirements of CAP Accreditation?
There must be a quality management program, laboratory safety plan, document control plan, competency assessment program, laboratory director oversight documentation, and specific requirements for a laboratory information system, if applicable.
3. Are there any additional specific requirements for my practice as an in-office surgical pathology laboratory?
In general, the accreditation requirements for in-office surgical pathology laboratories are in four CAP Accreditation checklists: Anatomic Pathology (customized based on testing the laboratory is performing); Team Leader Assessment of Director and Quality; Laboratory General; and All Common. Please note, if additional clinical laboratory testing is being performed, additional checklists would be required.
4. How quickly can I get accredited?
Generally it takes from 6-9 months from receipt of completed application to initial inspection. It then takes another 2-3 months for accreditation to be issued if the laboratory meets all qualifications and resolves any deficiencies. The CAP does not accredit laboratories with unresolved deficiencies. Because of a marked increase in applications for CAP accreditation, these time frames may change.
5. What are the costs associated with enrolling in the CAP’s accreditation program?
Costs of accreditation are based on your laboratory’s complexity and test volume. Request a quote here.
6. Are there additional costs for proficiency testing (PT) that we would need to order?
In general there are no PT requirements for surgical pathology. (But if your laboratory is performing other clinical laboratory testing, there may be PT requirements. PT requirements will vary based on what testing is being done by the laboratory.)
7. Who are the CAP-accepted alternate PT providers?
The CAP Accreditation program accepts PT from many CMS-approved providers. For a list of CAP-accepted providers, please contact the CAP Accreditation PT Compliance Group at firstname.lastname@example.org. Most in-office surgical pathology laboratories do not require enrollment in PT. Once the CAP Accreditation Program receives a listing of your activities they will notify you if any PT is required. You can also refer to the CAP’s Surveys or EXCEL PT catalog available on the CAP’s website for more information on required PT. The Analyte Index indicates which testing requires PT for accreditation.
We sincerely appreciate your inquiry, and we strive to exceed your needs as a customer. For more detailed information about CAP accreditation, please visit About the CAP Accreditation Program. You may also always reach us at 800-323-4040, option 1.
For more FAQs, including those above. (PDF, 62 KB)