Read the Latest Issue of STATLINE

July 18, 2017

In This Issue:

On July 13, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) released the proposed 2018 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule which reflected the CAP's recommendations from the CAP and AMA Specialty Society Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC) for physician work relative values to certain pathology services. Some of these recommendations reflected increases from current values.

The CMS estimates that changes to the physician work and practice expense work relative value units (RVUs) used to calculate global and technical component (TC) payments, as proposed for the 2018 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule would result in a 1% overall decrease in pathology services. This impact would vary on individual pathologists depending on their case mix.

The proposed 2018 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule payment received by independent laboratories is estimated to decrease 2% due to the proposed changes to the technical component direct practice expense inputs.

The CAP hosted a webinar on July 17 where the CAP's experts reviewed and explained the CMS proposed changes. The CAP also released a special STATLINE alert immediately after the rule was released highlighting the major changes.

The CAP will continue to engage with the CMS on the proposed 2018 physician fee schedule and seek clarifications to its published values. The CAP will submit formal comments by the September 11 deadline. The CAP will keep members updated through STATLINE on its work to protect the value of pathology services.

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The CAP continues to engage with federal health officials on Medicare's implementation of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA) law and its reforms to the clinical laboratory fee schedule (CLFS).

Beginning in 2017, the PAMA law required certain laboratories to collect and submit private payer rates for clinical laboratory tests. Medicare will use the data it collects to set the fees for these tests starting in 2018. Any reductions to the CLFS are capped by statute at 10% per year between 2018-2019. The CAP expects the 2018 CLFS rates based on the data collection and submission of private payor payments to be released by the Medicare program this fall.

The CAP continues to work with the government on PAMA's implementation. Most recently, the CAP joined other organizations representing pathology and laboratory medicine to express concern regarding data collection and the calculation of new CLFS rates. The CAP and other laboratory organizations said changes to the program are needed to ensure patient access to clinical testing.

In addition, the CMS recently announced in the proposed 2018 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule rule that it seeks comment from applicable laboratories and reporting entities regarding their experience with the first data collection and reporting periods under the new private payer rate-based CLFS. Comments received would inform the CMS regarding potential refinement to the CLFS for future data collection and reporting periods.

The CAP has provided comment on these issues in the past and will continue to work with the CMS and key stakeholders to address the concerns of pathologists.

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The CAP refreshed the Advocacy section of to highlight issues that matter most to members and make key resources easier to find and navigate. Check out the new Advocacy webpage today.

The updated webpage is visually stimulating and reorganized, making content easily accessible. The redesigned webpage provides CAP members with the latest news and information on Advocacy work on behalf of the pathology specialty in five sections:

  • Payment for Pathology Services
  • Lobbying and Political Action
  • Physician Quality Measures
  • Laboratory Oversight and Regulation
  • Latest News and Practice Data

There are about 35 sub webpages on Advocacy issues. The link to the latest issue of STATLINE is now at the top of the page and the CAP's work on developing the Pathologists Quality Registry and Value-Based Care is prominently displayed.

Editor's Note: Due to the upgrades, STATLINE's July 11 edition was temporarily unavailable on Friday. Last week's issue and links all documents within the July 11 edition are now available.

If you have comments or feedback about the Advocacy webpage redesign, please email us at

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In the 29th annual APEX Awards for Publication Excellence, the CAP's STATLINE earned an Award of Excellence for 2017 in the competition's newsletters category for the third consecutive year.

APEX awards are based on excellence in graphic design, editorial content, and the ability to achieve overall communications excellence. Moreover, APEX's Award of Excellence recognizes exceptional entries submitted in dozens of individual categories covering print and digital media. STATLINE also received APEX awards in 2015 and 2016.

For the 2017 APEX contest, STATLINE staff submitted breaking news coverage of the Medicare reimbursement changes finalized in the 2017 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule and regular editions of the newsletter throughout 2016.

Since 1979, members of the College have read STATLINE as their official source for advocacy and policy news from Washington, DC. STATLINE provides its target audience of pathologists with news articles on topics ranging from federal regulation to legislation and local grassroots action. CAP members receive STATLINE electronic newsletter issues on a weekly basis.

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Learn about the current trends in Pathology Practice and how it shapes CAP Advocacy efforts

Be the first to learn about results from CAP’s 2017 Practice Characteristics Survey at CAP17's Exclusive: Results from the 2017 CAP Practice Characteristics Survey advocacy course. This course will be held on Tuesday, October 10 from 12:30 – 1:30 PM at CAP17. Taught by Michael B. Cohen, MD FCAP, Chair of the CAP Policy Roundtable, and by David J. Gross, PhD, Director of the Policy Roundtable, be the first to learn about the latest pathology demographic data, where and what kinds of services pathologists are providing, find out about compensation trends, and hear what issues are most important to pathologists. Moreover, you will learn about how results from this year's survey compare to the 2017 Practice Characteristics Survey.

Registration is now open for key CAP policy and advocacy courses that are important to the pathology specialty during CAP17 at the Gaylord National Harbor from October 8–11, 2017.

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Mark your calendars as the 2018 CAP Policy Meeting is set from April 30–May 2 at the Washington Marriott in Washington, DC. This is THE meeting where CAP members can connect directly with government leaders and policy experts to discuss the impact of Federal regulation on their practice.

Registration will open soon for the CAP Annual Policy Meeting. Stay tuned for more updates

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David Gang, MD, FCAP

No matter what kind of practice setting is in your future, health policy and payment models will impact you and your practice. On Wednesday, August 9 at 1 PM (ET), the CAP will host an Advocacy webinar on what residents need to know about reimbursement policies and how advocacy plays a vital role in your pathology practice livelihood.

During this 60-minute informative webinar, you will learn about the College of American Pathologists (CAP) advocacy and policy agenda, and how it directly impacts all residents and pathologists.

Kelsey McHugh, MD

Led by David Gang, MD, FCAP, Vice-Chair of the CAP’s Federal and State Affairs Committee, and Kelsey McHugh, MD, junior member of the CAP's Federal and State Affairs Committee, attendees will learn about health policy basics and the importance of getting involved in CAP initiatives that helps to advocate for patients.

Register today.

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