College of American Pathologists

  News Release


Published on February 4, 2014

Contact: Laura Diamond
Phone: 202-354-7102

Contact: Charles Fiegl
Phone: 202-354-7134

CAP Supports Expansion of Patient Access to Laboratory Test Results

Washington, DC—The College of American Pathologists (CAP), a national medical specialty society representing more than 18,000 physician members, commended the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), for increasing patients’ access to their own laboratory test results under its finalized rule, “CLIA Program and HIPAA Privacy Rule; Patients’ Access to Test Reports.”

The rule, proposed in September 2011, amends the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) regulations to specify that, upon a patient’s request, a laboratory must give patients access to completed pathology and laboratory test reports that belong to that patient. The rule allows patients to receive test reports directly from laboratories, who along with pathologists have a critical role on the health care team.

“We are pleased that the HHS has expanded patient rights and access to laboratory records, while recognizing the vital role pathologists and laboratories have in patient health care,” said CAP President Gene N. Herbek, MD, FCAP. “Multiple states had not allowed such access, but the rule preempts state law that prevents patients from receiving test results from laboratories directly. As this rule is implemented, the CAP will work with laboratories on compliance with regulations and with HHS on its guidance to providers and patients.”

Currently, a small minority of states expressly give patients access to laboratory test results under their state law. As the CAP urged, the HHS preempted state laws impeding individual access to patients. According to the HHS, the final rule will now give patients access to their test results directly from the laboratory in an additional 39 states where state law forbid such access or was unclear.

About the College of American Pathologists

As the leading organization for board-certified pathologists, the College of American Pathologists (CAP) serves patients, pathologists, and the public by fostering and advocating excellence in the practice of pathology and laboratory medicine worldwide. With more than 18,000 physician members, the CAP has led laboratory accreditation for more than 50 years with more than 7,600 CAP-accredited laboratories in 50 countries. Find more information about the CAP at Follow CAP on Twitter at @pathologists.