College of American Pathologists

  House of Delegates Newsletter
  March 2006




Posted January 30, 2007

Dear Delegates:

I have recently returned from the March Board of Governors meeting and I am happy to report positive actions in response to several House resolutions. For the full resolve of the resolutions, pleaser refer to the status report or meeting summaries on the House of Delegates homepage.

Although the Board did not approve F2005-12a, Laboratory Director/Laboratory Medical Director Responsibilities as written, the Council on Accreditation (CoA), to which the resolution was referred, supports the intent that laboratory medical directors should have sufficient authority within their organization to ensure compliance to CLIA regulations and CAP requirements. The Council recommends development of a comprehensive strategy to a broad audience including hospital administration that emphasizes the joint responsibility between hospital management and the medical director to ensure laboratory compliance requirements are met.

Through the LAP program, the College has implemented several tools designed to define and emphasize the role of the laboratory medical director and to support CAP members in fulfilling these responsibilities. These tools include a new Laboratory Director Questionnaire and the New Team Leader Assessment of Director and Quality Checklist.

In addition to these and other LAP tools, the Council supports working with the Council on Government and Professional Affairs (CGPA), the Council on Membership and Professional Development (CMPD), and staff to development a comprehensive communication plan designed to more effectively educate lab directors and hospital administration on these issues and requirements.

The Board referred two resolutions, F2005-5, Program on New Practice Options, Innovations in Pathology, Time Savings and Efficiency and F2005-4, Requirements for Laboratory Statement Regarding aPTT Ranges, back to the House Steering Committee. We are currently working on these issues and will report back to the House at our fall meeting.

In response to F2004-5, Improvement of Pathology Reports, the College held a CAP '05 seminar dedicated to the subject of pathology report standardization. In addition, the Board has appointed an ad hoc committee to build on the outcomes of the CAP '05 session. The committee has been asked to define the elements of an anatomic pathology report, in the style of the existing cancer protocols. Included in the scope of the project is the determination of how to manage critical values and ambiguous terms. Further, the committee is expected to consider broadly how information from a standardized pathology report can be encoded into message systems such as HL7 using SNOMED codes.

The Council on Scientific Affairs (CSA) is taking a leadership role with the committee. The committee will also include representatives from the Council on Accreditation, the Education Committee, the Informatics Committee, and SNOMED.

As a result of F2004-4a, Guidelines for Handling of Slides, the Council on Scientific Affairs has created general advisements for developing institution specific guidelines for the handling of slides.

The Board approved F2004-3, Laboratory Personnel Shortage, which resolved that the College develop a plan of action to interact closely with other pathology organizations to have a comprehensive review of the reasons for laboratory personnel shortages and to develop strategies to remedy the critical shortage. Subsequent to House adoption of the resolution, the Practice Management Committee reviewed existing data and information on the issue and prepared a report that is available to delegates and will also be forwarded to the Future of Pathology Group. The report confirms that there is a labor shortage and that it is expected to worsen. The report recommends that the CGPA create an ad hoc work group as part of a taskforce with the Association of Pathology Chairs and other groups to further develop strategies to address these and other workforce issues.

While the Board did not approve S2004-6, Peer Review Process for Expert Testimony, it did approve a policy titled Expert Witness Guidelines for the Specialty of Pathology in order to provide guidance to pathologists who serve as expert witnesses.

The Council on Membership and Professional Development did investigate the possibility of instituting a peer-review process to evaluate expert medical testimony, however, it determined that the cost of developing, implementing, and maintaining such a program was prohibitive and that such an investigative process exposes the College to potential liability.

On another note, I want to remind all of you that this weekend, April 1-2, representatives of the House of Delegates and of the Board of Governors will meet for a one-and-a-half day retreat to discuss the role and function of the House of Delegates within the CAP structure. I will share the results of this retreat with you this spring. In addition, I plan to make time on our fall meeting agenda for further discussion of the results and our next steps as we continue the process of revitalizing the House of Delegates.

Finally, please remember that elections for the House Steering Committee will be held at our fall meeting. All delegates are welcome and encouraged to run for any Steering Committee position. If you would like to be considered for a position during this election process, please contact Shannon Peterson to receive an electronic form that should be returned no later than April 7, 2006.

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


Related Links