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STATLINE
February 5, 2009  •  Volume 25, Number 3
© 2009 College of American Pathologists
 

In This Issue:

Photo: Rep. Carolyn McCarthy Tours Long Island Jewish Medical Center
Incentive for Electronic Health Records Adoption in Stimulus Bill for
Independent Pathologists

National Pathology Societies’ Leadership Meet to Discuss Top Issues for New Year
Daschle Steps Down as Nominee for HHS Secretary and Health Czar
CMS to Hold Special Open Door Forum for First Time PQRI Participants
 

Photo: Rep. Carolyn McCarthy Tours Long Island Jewish
Medical Center

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) meets Patricia Wasserman, MD, FCAP, and James Crawford, MD, PhD. and the laboratory team of Long Island Jewish Medical Center Jan. 26 in New Hyde Park, NY.

Incentive for Electronic Health Records Adoption in Stimulus Bill for Independent Pathologists

Both the House and Senate stimulus bills include incentives for physicians to incorporate electronic health records into their practices, but for pathologists, qualifying for the different incentive programs will depend on your practice.

Independent pathologists, as part of H.R. 1 and S. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, would be eligible for a $15,000 incentive payment for adopting electronic health records starting 2011, with a declining incentive scale each subsequent year until 2015.

Hospital-based pathologists are ineligible for this particular incentive payment due to concerns over double payment. Legislators have allocated HIT incentive payments directly to the hospital, and have assumed it would negate the need to provide HIT incentives directly to hospital-based pathologists. CAP is monitoring the effect of this provision.

Additional HIT grants may also be made available for physicians through low-interest loans provided by the Federal government to the states.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that approximately 90 percent of doctors and 70 percent of hospitals will be using electronic health records within the next decade as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The College anticipates tremendous advantages from the adoption of the electronic health record system, and will continue to advocate for incorporation of health information technology provisions within the stimulus package and in the healthcare agenda.

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National Pathology Societies’ Leadership Meet to Discuss Top Issues for New Year

Priorities for the new year and the “big picture for pathology” were on the agenda as leaders from key national pathology societies converged in Washington, D.C. Jan. 30 for an invitational meeting hosted by the College.

The “big picture” discussed—healthcare reform—comes as President Obama and key Democrats in the House and Senate maintain that they can succeed in the task of enacting a comprehensive overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system.

“With the stage is set for the Obama administration to tackle many of the problems and weaknesses in the US health care system, the pathology community needs to be at the forefront of policy discussions that will help determine the course of reform efforts,” said Andrew Horvath, MD, FCAP and Chair of the CAP Council on Government and Professional Affairs, and a member of the CAP Board of Governors, who attended the meeting. “Each group brings a unique perspective, skill set, and dedication to our work on behalf of pathology.”

The half-day meeting included topics like laboratory-developed tests, reimbursement, cytology proficiency testing and health information technology.

It is part of an ongoing effort by CAP to ensure that the pathology community has an opportunity to share thoughts and perspectives, and ensure that organizations are equipped to address emerging issues facing the field. The group is scheduled to meet again throughout the year.

In addition to the College, representatives participated from the American Pathology Foundation, American Society of Cytopathology, the Association for Molecular Pathology, American Society for Clinical Pathology, Association of Pathology Chairs, and both the United States and Canadian Academies of Pathology.

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Daschle Steps Down as Nominee for HHS Secretary and
Health Czar

Tom Daschle stepped down as Pres. Barack Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services and Health Czar Feb. 3 after it was revealed that he failed to pay $128,000 in back taxes until last month.

The resignation of Daschle, former Senate Majority Leader and Democratic representative of South Dakota, created a stir on Capitol Hill—raising the question of how this may affect plans to overhaul the healthcare system early in the President’s agenda.

The search has already begun for a replacement, with possible candidates including Howard Dean, MD, the former governor of Vermont and Democratic National Committee chair, Democratic governors Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania, Phil Bredesen of Tennessee and Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, as well as former Senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey.

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CMS to Hold Special Open Door Forum for First Time
PQRI Participants

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will hold a Special Open Door Forum on the 2009 Physician Quality Reporting Initiative Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009 from 3– 4:30 pm Eastern Time.

This conference call will be geared to those eligible professionals planning to participate in the PQRI for the first time in 2009 and will cover the basics of how to satisfactorily report the 2009 PQRI quality measures through claims-based reporting.

During this Special ODF, CMS staff will discuss the basics of how to satisfactorily report the 2009 PQRI quality measures through claims-based reporting. Afterwards, there will be an opportunity for the public to ask questions.

Special Open Door Forum Participation Instructions:

  • Dial: 1-800-837-1935 and enter Conference ID 83501646
  • For TTY services dial 7-1-1 or 1-800-855-2880 and for Internet Relay services, visit the Web site.

For more information visit the CMS Web site.

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