Posted January 30, 2007
Today, I want to provide you with some additional information about what is happening on the issue of the future of the House of Delegates and let you know about opportunities to provide your input. I will also offer an update from the May Board meeting.
As you know, representatives of the Board of Governors and of the House of Delegates participated in a retreat in April with the goal of determining what the role of the House should be and how the House can effectively accomplish that role.
In late April, you received a joint communication from Dr. Sodeman and me. That communication raised concerns among some of you and I want to take a moment to address those concerns.
First, you can rest assured that the members of the Board and other CAP leaders are people who have everyone’s best interests in mind. We are working together for our profession and our patients. As the ad hoc committee, with equal representation from the Board and the House, moves forward, it is clear that the issues on which we came to consensus during the retreat exist to guide us, they are not set in stone. No decisions have been made nor will they be made before the full House has an opportunity for discussion. As a delegate, you can provide valuable input into the process as things move forward.
Toward that end, in July you will receive an electronic survey that will provide an opportunity for each delegate to offer your opinion on what you think the role of the House of Delegates should be. The results of that survey will help shape our discussion of the issue during the House meeting at CAP ’06. If you are a delegate who wants your opinion heard, be sure to complete the anonymous electronic survey when you receive it.
Be sure to attend the CAP ’06 House of Delegates meeting—it may be the most important thing you ever do as a delegate. If you have never attended before and you never go again, you should attend this meeting to participate in the watershed discussion we will have about the future of our House.
Last year’s meeting was just the beginning of the House revitalization plan—not the end. Now that we have the right people in place, we must solidify the vital role the House can and should play in the College. This is our opportunity to make the House everything we want it to be!
The Board approved resolution F2005-8, Professional Liability Insurance Information. In response, the Council on Membership and Professional Development, in conjunction with AON Affinity Insurance Services, the CAP Member Insurance Program Broker, has identified professional liability insurance educational content for posting on the CAP Web site and for possible publication in College periodical such as CAP Today. Members can access a variety of insurance resources under the Membership section of the Website.
The Board approved a streamlined membership application process for all pathology residents and for junior members who have passed the Board exam and are eligible for membership status. The new application process is one step in the College’s strategy to clearly position the College as THE pathologists’ organization.
Also, under the Council on Membership and Professional Development, the Practice Management Committee has established a goal to develop easily accessible practice management solutions for pathologists, including the special needs of small group practices. As products and services are developed, I will keep you informed.
Medically Unbelievable Edits
As you should be aware, the College has been working collaboratively with many other organizations to address the MUE proposal put forth by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) last December.
The proposal, if implemented as it was initially presented, would have been disastrous for pathologists as it included limits on nearly all pathology codes. As a consequence of ongoing CAP advocacy efforts and data collected from our members, CMS is now reviewing its proposal in a more reasonable and rational way. However, this issue is not over and the College remains vigilant. Watch the CAP website and Statline for updates.
Cytology Proficiency Testing—Strategy Update
The College continues to advocate for replacement of the current program with an alternative approach consistent with the Mammography Quality Standards Act, which would allow evaluation of the performance of the lab. In addition, individuals would be required to subscribe to cytology PT as part of their CME.
Most recently we have presented our arguments to a CLIAC workgroup, which will make recommendations to CLIAC in September. The College is concerned that the workgroup may have too narrow a focus on fine-tuning what is already in the PT regulation, rather than looking at developing a meaningful alternative that the profession can embrace.
The CAP continues to attempt to persuade Congress that it must act to resolve the issue and provide specific direction to CMS.
Technical Component Grandfather Clause
In 1999, CMS issued a final notice that Medicare would no longer pay independent laboratories for the technical component (TC) of pathology services provided to hospital inpatients and outpatients. To date, this payment change has not been fully implemented because the College has successfully won passage in Congress of a series of temporary TC “grandfather” exemptions. The current TC “grandfather” expires at the end of this year, and independent laboratories will be forced to seek payment from hospitals.
Stay tuned for important announcements regarding this issue.
State Pathology Society Leadership Meeting
Twenty-eight state pathology society presidents attended the first ever State Pathology Society Leadership Meeting hosted by the College on June 3 in Washington, DC. The presidents of all state pathology societies were invited to attend the event, which will be held annually.
The meeting focused on exploring ways to combine the resources of the College and state pathology organizations, including discussion of new ways CAP can assist state pathology societies. One of Dr. Sodeman’s highest priorities as CAP President has been to foster meaningful relationships with state societies and to work together to further raise the unified voice of pathologists nationwide on issues that affect our profession and patient care.
Based on feedback from the meeting, there was a decision made to form a workgroup that will work with the CAP Federal and State Affairs Committee to foster ongoing communication with state pathology societies and enhance collaboration in areas such as membership recruitment, meeting coordination and promotion, and education.
Maintenance of Certification
The Board heard an excellent presentation on maintenance of certification (MOC) by M. Elizabeth H. Hammond, MD, FCAP at it’s May meeting. This topic should be important to all of us, even those with unlimited certificates. Although technically time-limited certificates apply only those who are board-certified after 2006, practically speaking, it is likely that employers will require pathologists to comply with MOC requirements.
The College is doing an excellent job of helping members meet and track their requirements. A great example is the use icons in the CAP ’06 catalog, which makes it easy to identify classes that will help fulfill your requirements. Stay tuned as the College continues to develop products and services to help our members meet and track their requirements easily and effectively.
Interest in the formation of the SNOMED Standards Development Organization (SSDO) is very strong, with the US, UK, Australia, Lithuania, Canada, China, Denmark and Estonia expressing interest in becoming charter members. Meetings with the European Community (EC) and the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) also indicated support and should result in commitment from additional European countries.
In addition, the World Health Organization is interested in a role in the SSDO, which will likely be participation in an advisory capacity.
On June 26-28, a face-to-face working session is scheduled with the interested countries to draft the documents to launch the SSDO. The goal is to form a scaled-down SSDO by September 1, 2006 in order to meet the immediate needs of some of the interested countries, which have short-term objectives to implement electronic medical records.
Government Accountability Office Report
The GAO report on laboratory quality could be publicly issued any day. In anticipation of its release, Congress has scheduled a hearing on June 27th, during which Dr. Sodeman will testify.
The College worked extensively with GAO on the report and had the opportunity to formally respond to a draft, which will be published in the final report. The report notes several improvements we have made to the LAP over the past two years, which address most of the issues raised by the GAO during its investigation.
The College will examine the final report closely to determine if there is anything else it needs to do to further strengthen the LAP program.
Finally, in July you will receive your ballots for CAP elections. There is a contested race for Secretary-Treasurer as well as four uncontested Governors seats up for election. You ballots must be returned by August 10. I encourage you to vote in this election.
If you have any questions about this message, please contact Tari McDermand at 800-323-4040 ext-7260. You can also email me directly.
Thomas J. Cooper, Jr., MD, FCAP
Speaker, CAP House of Delegates