College of American Pathologists

  CAP History Timeline

  Updated October 20, 2009


  • American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP) established


  • American Board of Pathology (ABP) established


  • American Medical Association (AMA) recognizes pathology as the practice of medicine


  • ASCP Committee on Hospital and Public Relations (“Hartman Committee”) suggests formation of a separate “academy of pathology”


  • “Rump session” at June ASCP meeting sets December date for meeting to establish a college of pathology
  • College of American Pathologists (CAP) formed at organizational meeting in Chicago, December 12 and 13


  • Organizational meeting of CAP Board of Governors, January 4 and 5
  • Melbourne G. Westmoreland, MD, appointed as first Executive Secretary (January)
  • First headquarters office opened at 203 North Wabash Ave., Chicago (May or earlier)
  • Secretary's Newsletter begins publication (May)
  • College incorporated in Illinois, May 14
  • First general meeting on October 27 approves CAP Code of Ethics


  • Ludvig Hektoen, MD, named College’s first honorary fellow


  • First chemistry survey conducted
  • CAP cooperates in American Medical Association blood bank survey


  • Basic Requirements of a Department of Clinical Pathology in a Modern Hospital published
  • Policy statement on cytology adopted


  • First standard solutions offered


  • Board of Governors adopts definition of pathology
  • Liaison committee established with Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals (JCAH)
  • First Legislative Committee established
  • CAP forms Joint Blood Council with ASCP, American Red Cross, and American Association of Blood Banks


  • Arthur H. Dearing, MD, replaces Dr. Westmoreland as executive secretary
  • CAP Bulletin supersedes Secretary’s Newsletter
  • College committees grouped under three councils (this procedure abandoned the following year)


  • CAP first offers group health and accident insurance for members
  • First Manual of Ethical and Contractual Relations published


  • CAP Board no longer includes formal representation from other societies
  • Officer and board nominations by petition permitted
  • President's term shortened from 3 years to 2 years
  • Office of president-elect established
  • Iowa Hospital Association lawsuit legally establishes pathology as the practice of medicine
  • Board adopts surgical pathology policy (ancestor of practice guidelines)


  • Headquarters office moves to Prudential Plaza, Chicago
  • George N. Papanicolaou, MD, named an honorary fellow
  • Regular exchange of Board minutes begun with ASCP


  • CAP Assembly established
  • S.E. Gould, MD, becomes the first pathologist editor of the Bulletin
  • Intersociety Committee on Pathology Information formed
  • College begins accreditation of cytology training programs (turned over to ASCP in 1961)


  • First bacteriology Survey conducted
  • National Registry of Forensic Pathology founded with CAP support
  • College sends brochure on cytology to all US physicians
  • First model laboratory operated at regular American Medical Association meeting


  • Standards Laboratory established
  • Suggested Guide for Procedures and Ethics Relating to Autopsies published
  • CAP becomes a sponsor of American Board of Pathology


  • CAP sections introduced
  • First group life insurance coverage offered to members
  • Assembly passes resolution calling for feasibility study of laboratory accreditation program


  • Ad Hoc Committee on Laboratory Accreditation submits report to Board of Governors, recommending establishment of accreditation program
  • First CAP relative value schedule (RVS) prepared


  • First CAP computer education program offered
  • Board of Governors approves establishment of Inspection and Accreditation Program


  • Oliver J. Neibel, JD, replaces Dr. Dearing as executive director
  • CAP Foundation established
  • First comprehensive Surveys offered
  • First resource committees established as subcommittees of Standards Committee
  • First spring interim meeting held in New Orleans
  • National Pituitary Agency formed


  • First edition of Systematized Nomenclature of Pathology (SNOP) published
  • Standards Laboratory relocates to Cleveland, Ohio, and becomes CAP Certification Laboratory
  • Product Evaluation Program instituted
  • First laboratories accredited under Inspection and Accreditation Program
  • National and state legislative subcommittees established
  • Legislative keyman program initiated
  • CAP and ASCP presidents begin attending both societies’ Board meetings
  • CAP hosts first pathology caucus at a regular meeting of American Medical Association


  • Headquarters office moves to Carbide and Carbon Building, 230 North Michigan Ave., Chicago
  • First laboratory accreditation checklist compiled
  • Federal Medicare legislation enacted
  • First CAP legislative lobbyist hired


  • College contracts with Belfour & Stulen, Inc. of Traverse City, Michigan, for computer analysis of survey data
  • First small hospital Survey offered
  • US Justice Department files antitrust complaint against College


  • Motto “Join Us in the Pursuit of Excellence” adopted
  • First Surveys-validated reference materials (SVRMs) made available
  • National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards founded
  • Surveys participation becomes a requirement for Laboratory Accreditation Program
  • Three states adopt Basic Survey for state-operated health agencies
  • Clinical Laboratories Improvement Act of 1967 (CLIA-67) passed
  • JCAH adopts CAP laboratory accreditation standards
  • American Association of Chairmen of Medical School Departments of Pathology (now Association of Pathology Chairs) formed


  • Board adopts stylized flask logo
  • “Member” status abolished
  • Basic Survey accorded equivalency under CLIA-67 by US Department of Health, Education & Welfare


  • Assembly becomes House of Delegates
  • Title of Bulletin changed to Pathologist
  • Office laboratory proficiency evaluation program first offered (becomes EXCEL in 1980)
  • First enzymology and instrumentation Surveys offered
  • Inspection and Accreditation Program declared equivalent to CLIA-67 standards
  • First regional laboratory inspection workshops offered
  • College signs antitrust consent decree with Justice Department


  • Washington, DC, office opens at 1775 K Street, NW
  • Workload Recording Method inaugurated
  • First supplement to American Journal of Clinical Pathology for publication of surveys-based scientific articles
  • AMA Principles of Medical Ethics supersedes CAP Code of Ethics
  • First joint Surveys offered with American Association of Blood Banks and American Society of Internal Medicine
  • Histopathology/Cytopathology Subcommittee formed


  • College purchases Belfour-Stulen, Inc. computer services firm
  • First toxicology and virology Surveys offered
  • Quality Assurance Service (QAS) inaugurated
  • CAP establishes liaison with American College of Radiology patterns of care study
  • College begins proficiency testing in nuclear imaging (phased out in 1994)


  • Committees grouped under councils
  • Election of secretary-treasurer transferred from Board to general membership
  • House of Delegates speaker becomes ex-officio member of Board
  • Howard E. Cartwright replaces Mr. Neibel as Executive Director
  • Board authorizes conversion of SNOP to Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine (SNOMED)
  • Inspection & Accreditation Newsletter inaugurated


  • Laboratory accreditation cycle shortened from 3 years to 2 years


  • Headquarters office moves to 7400 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie, Ill.
  • Liaison committee formed to oversee joint survey with American Association for Clinical Chemistry


  • First CAP Conference “Clinical Relevance in Microbiology” held at Aspen, Colo.
  • First edition of SNOMED published
  • First nuclear medicine survey offered
  • CAP Fellow Richard E. Palmer, MD, elected President of American Medical Association
  • American Blood Commission established


  • First interstate commissioner appointed for Inspection and Accreditation Program
  • CAP efforts help to defeat bill proposed by Sen. Herman Talmadge to abolish Medicare coverage for professional component in laboratory testing


  • Sections abolished
  • Board adopts "Standards of Quality Control in Cytopathology"


  • Washington, DC, office moves to shared quarters with ASCP at 1333 New Hampshire Ave., NW
  • CAP establishes research fellowship at National Bureau of Standards
  • Joint CAP/American College of Radiology Patterns of Care Steering Committee on Cancer in Pathology Practice established
  • JCAH grants deeming authority for CAP Inspection and Accreditation Program


  • Inspection and Accreditation Program re-named Laboratory Accreditation Program (LAP)
  • Continuing medical education (CME) credit approved for laboratory inspectors


  • Arkansas lawsuit filed by CAP prevents implementation of excessively restrictive Medicare reimbursement regulations proposed by Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA)


  • CAP/ASCP Washington DC office moves to AMA building, 1101 Vermont Ave., NW
  • First CAP Foundation Conference held
  • First CAP Reference Preparation for Serum Proteins available
  • Digest of 1970-1980 Surveys data published as Data ReCAP


  • Dues abolished for first-year resident members
  • Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Amendments of 1982 (TEFRA) enacted, proposing severe new restrictions on Medicare payment for laboratory services


  • College purchases land in Northfield, Ill. as possible future headquarters site
  • CAP lawsuit challenging TEFRA regulations results in significant modifications
  • Joint Pathology Task Force established to coordinate the profession's response to TEFRA


  • Mail balloting instituted for CAP elections
  • House of Delegates speaker granted voting privileges on CAP Board of Governors
  • CAP begins joint publication of Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine with American Medical Association
  • College hires first full-time director of public services
  • CAP Archive of Standards published
  • First hormone receptor assay Survey offered
  • Performance Improvement Program in Diagnostic Surgical Pathology and Cytopathology (PIP) established
  • CAP Government Interface Program begun


  • Headquarters office moves to 5202 Old Orchard Road, Skokie, Ill.


  • Joint inspection of blood banks initiated by CAP and American Association of Blood Banks
  • First cancer specimen reporting guidelines published in Pathologist
  • Effective Laboratory Testing published


  • Resident representation added in House of Delegates
  • Publication of CAP TODAY begun


  • Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine begins publishing CAP Conference proceedings
  • Clinical Laboratories Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA-88) enacted
  • Q-Probes program initiated
  • College mounts public information campaign on cytology in response to Wall Street Journal “Pap mill” exposé
  • Revised policy statement on quality control in cytology adopted
  • Residents Forum founded


  • New headquarters building opens at 325 Waukegan Road, Northfield, Ill., consolidating previous Skokie and Traverse City offices
  • Resident members appointed to most CAP committees
  • Lee VanBremen, PhD, replaces Mr. Cartwright as executive vice president
  • Dues abolished for all Junior Members
  • Accreditation program first offered for forensic urine drug testing (FUDT)
  • Surveys/QAS shared pools program initiated
  • Committee on Practice Guidelines formed


  • Performance Improvement Program in Cervicovaginal Pathology (PAP) inaugurated


  • Vice-presidency eliminated; president-elect becomes two-year office with automatic succession


  • Laboratory Management Index Program (LMIP) replaces Workload Recording Method
  • Forensic identity and parentage testing survey initiated
  • Athletic drug testing (ADT) and reproductive biology accreditation programs implemented
  • Central States Pension Fund lawsuit in Arkansas upholds professional component billing
  • PathPAC established


  • Washington, DC, office moves to 1350 I Street, NW
  • College reaches formal agreement with Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) on equivalency of CAP laboratory inspection for JCAHO accreditation
  • College-wide strategic plan adopted by Board of Governors


  • CAP achieves deeming authority for LAP under CLIA-88


  • CAP takes over publication of Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
  • Surveys re-engineering project begins


  • Chair of Residents Forum becomes a voting member of the Board of Governors
  • Information Services Strategic Plan adopted
  • CAP Web site launched (August)


  • CAP assistance helps preserve professional-component billing in Smith & Lighter v. Peopria Tazewell Pathology Group
  • Board of Governors approves business plan to position Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine (SNOMED®) as standard reference terminology for electronic patient records
  • College celebrates its 50th anniversary with Fall annual meeting featuring presentation on The Future of Medical Care: The View from Four Summits, and Socratic dialogue on Future Ethics of Health Care


  • College’s 50th-anniversary history, In Pursuit of Excellence: The College of American Pathologists, 1946-1996, published.
  • CAP media campaign to promote Papanicolauou (Pap) Test for early detection of cervical cancer features “Thank You Dr. Pap” theme and special outreach to Spanish-speaking women.
  • Q-TRACKS® program of ongoing quality improvement studies launched.
  • College joins National Cooperation for Laboratory Accreditation (NACLA), a new initiative of the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST).
  • CAP Commission on Laboratory Accreditation approves alternative proficiency testing (PT) providers for Laboratory Accreditation Program (LAP).
  • LAP extended to remote limited service laboratories and lab systems.


  • Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine begins online publication
  • Virtual Management College distance learning program on laboratory management inaugurated
  • Pap smear reminder Web site launched
  • Q-TRACKS performance measurement program approved by Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and American Medical Accreditation Program
  • CAP receives five-year grant from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop standardized SNOMED encoding and reporting for surgical pathology reports
  • College input aids in passage of Congressional legislation doubling Medicare payment for Pap smears
  • Ground broken for expansion building at CAP’s Northfield, IL headquarters
  • Board of Governors adopts five-point statement of CAP core values
  • Agreement signed between SNOMED and Great Britain’s National Health Service for combined international nomenclature of medicine


  • CAP implements SCORES integrated information management system for all lab improvement programs
  • Board of Governors approves new College policies on patient safety and autopsy performance and reimbursement
  • CAP Web site tops 1 million monthly hits (August)
  • Spanish version of “MyPapTestReminder” Web site launched
  • CAP occupies new east wing at Northfield headquarters
  • SNOMED RT (Reference Terms) introduced


  • Spring national meeting discontinued
  • House of Delegates holds first concurrent meeting with U.S. & Canadian Academy of Pathology (USCAP)
  • Continuing medical education (CME) credit offered to readers of Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
  • CAP LINKS (Laboratory Integration Knowledge Source) introduced
  • Practice guidelines discontinued
  • Improved online state-legislation database released
  • Bioterrorism information page added to CAP Web site
  • Bilingual “MyHealthTestReminder” Web site launched
  • Nicki M. Norris succeeds Lee VanBremen as CAP Executive Vice President


  • SNOMED CT (Clinical Terms) introduced, combining SNOMED RT and British National Health Service Read Codes
  • Laboratory Accreditation Program (LAP) implements new pricing structure based on lab complexity
  • PathFocus pathologist-activity assessment program launched
  • CAP Board of Governors affirms American Medical Association's nine-point “Declaration of Professional Responsibility”
  • College launches Customer Relationship Management (CRM) project to streamline interactions with lab improvement program customers
  • CAP@Your Service e-newsletter inaugurated
  • Board of Governors approves education business plan to position the CAP as leading provider of quality educational programs for pathologists and the laboratory community


  • CAP holds first free-standing annual national meeting, CAP '03
  • Five-year licensing agreement for SNOMED-CT signed with National Library of Medicine
  • Learning Management System implemented to provide online registration, content delivery, and certification for Continuing Medical Education (CME) courses
  • Laboratory Accreditation Program (LAP) offers inspection checklists customized for individual labs
  • CAP-backed Medicare legislation rectifies past errors in annual physician-fee updates, rejects co-payments for lab tests, and facilitates direct billing by independent labs
  • Revised cancer protocols posted on CAP Web site
  • HistoQIP histology proficiency testing program introduced
  • First German release of SNOMED-CT
  • “Color Atlas of Hemoglobin Disorders” published
  • CAP Foundation inaugurates John H. Rippey Grant program in Quality Assurance


  • Online Surveys educational enhancements launched
  • CAP Foundation institutes informatics fellowship
  • SNOMED CT becomes available through National Library of Medicine Unified Medical Language System (UMLS)
  • Peer Recruitment Program launched
  • CAP receives three-year CDC Cooperative Grant on Quality Assurance Measures


  • CAP Foundation inaugurates five-year business plan to complement CAP strategic directives
  • First SNOMED Web conferences presented to directors of National Program of Cancer Registries
  • CAP Foundation inaugurates Association of Pathology Informatics/McKesson Informatics Award, Olympus America Telepathology Grant, and US Labs/Exoterix Hematopathology Training Grant
  • Re-vamped House of Delegates election procedures yield 103 new members
  • CAP headquarters staff adds Senior Vice President/Operations position
  • Web-based “Introduction and overview of SNOMED CT” launched
  • CAP advocacy helps preserve functions of Armed Forces Institute of Pathology following proposed closure by Department of Defense Base Closure Commission, and secures postponement of outdated proposed federal cytology proficiency testing requirements
  • Laboratory Accreditation Program (LAP) announces new initiatives including mandatory inspector training and unannounced inspections
  • CAP Foundation Hurricane Katrina Fund raises over $140,000 for restoration of pathology services impacted by Gulf Coast hurricanes


  • Laboratory Accreditation Program strengthened with unannounced inspections, mandatory inspector training, and formal assessment of laboratory director performance
  • College creates template for formal Laboratory Patient Safety Plan
  • Expert witness guidelines for pathologists released
  • College initiates partnership with American Society of Clinical Oncology on HER2 testing guidelines
  • Online digital slide programs launched in surgical pathology & dermatopathology
  • CAP-led advocacy coalition secures withdrawal of Center for Medicare/Medicaid Services “Medically Unlikely Edits” proposal
  • Greg Henderson, MD, FCAP, given “Distinguished Patient Care Award” for service following Hurricane Katrina
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration adopts SNOMED as standardized vocabulary for prescription drug labeling
  • Streamlined on-line membership application process introduced
  • Color Atlas of Body Fluids published


  • patient Web site launched
  • College launches Patient Test Check Up (PT Check Up) program for office laboratories performing waived tests
  • Promotional ads run in September and October issues of American Airlines in-flight magazine American Way
  • College enters agreement to form International Health Terminology standards Development Organization, with nine countries participating, to administer and promote SNOMED CT
  • House of Delegates introduces more streamlined and interactive meeting format
  • CAP Foundation sponsors Futurescape Conference on “Technologies Designing the Future of Anatomic Pathology”
  • Pathology Practice Management Directory made available to members
  • Enhanced Laboratory Preparedness Program launched in cooperation with Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and Association of Public Health Laboratories
  • Every number is a life™” initiative launched to draw recognition to the contribution of the laboratory and its professionals in healthcare delivery


  • CAP develops eNEWS and eAlert communication tools to provide ongoing and timely information
  • Transformation of the Specialty” campaign announced to help members take action to pursue new roles in the workplace and be part of the clinical care team
  • Piedmont Medical Laboratory in Winchester, VA, becomes the first laboratory in the United States to earn CAP 15189 AccreditationSM based on the ISO standard
  • The CAP Press publishes An Algorithmic Approach to Hemostasis Testing and College of American Pathologists Practical Guide to Gynecologic Cytopathology: Morphology, Management, and Molecular Methods
  • The College of American Pathologists selects Charles Roussel as its new Executive Vice President


  • The CAP deeming status as a private accreditation organization renewed for a six-year period by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • The CAP Press publishes Histologic Preparations: Common Problems and Their Solutions
  • The Laboratory Accreditation Program begins a multi-year redesign to improve quality and flexibility
  • CAP pilot program for Ultrasound Guided Fine Needle Aspiration Certificate Program held at the Northfield Headquarters’ building
  • Clinical Pathology Improvement Program online education activity becomes available
  • CAP election conducted via online ballot for the first time
  • The CAP Institute for the Advancement of the Pathology Specialty and the Pathology & Laboratory Quality Center officially launched at the annual meeting

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