Advocacy Update

May 31, 2022

In this Issue:

CAP Identifies Provisions it Supports and Wants Changed in Senate LDT Proposal

On May 17, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) released the latest version of the Verifying Accurate Leading-edge IVCT Development (VALID) Act as part of the next user fee authorization bill for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The latest version of VALID Act represented a positive step in the right direction on the oversight of laboratory-developed tests (LDTs) and captured several of the CAP’s long-held policy positions.

On May 26, CAP President Emily Volk, MD, FCAP provided CAP members with an update on the VALID Act. Read this message to members. The VALID Act would establish an oversight framework for laboratory-developed tests if enacted into law. Since 2009, the CAP has advocated that LDT legislation ensures quality laboratory testing for patients, allows for innovation in laboratory testing, and prevents undue administrative or regulatory burdens on laboratories.

After an initial review of the legislation, the CAP detailed in a letter to the HELP Committee the provisions it supports in the bill. The CAP will continue to engage with the members of Congress through the legislative process to advocate for patient protections, continued access to diagnostic testing, and reducing burdens on laboratories.

In a letter to the HELP Committee, the CAP outlined several aspects of the VALID Act bipartisan, bicameral legislation that the CAP supports while also identifying areas in the bill for improvement. On May 27, the HELP Committee introduced the bill after receiving comments. Additional information about this issue, including frequently asked questions, is available on the CAP’s website.

CAP Praises Congress for Introduction of Legislation to Address Social Determinants of Health

The CAP applauded Congress for introducing the Health Equity and Accountability Act, which, among other things, includes policies to mitigate and eliminate the impact of social determinants of health, increase access to and the quality of health care for underserved communities, funds workforce diversity programs, and addresses the maternal health and mental health crises.

The CAP thanked the act’s sponsor, Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL), for introducing the bill and keeping these critical issues at the forefront of the congressional agenda.

The Health Equity and Accountability Act legislation includes the CAP-endorsed Social Determinants Accelerator Act, which would establish a council to increase coordination between health and social service programs and provide technical assistance to increase their effectiveness. The legislation also would permanently increase the Affordable Care Act’s premium subsidies, close the Medicaid coverage gap, and treat US territories like states for Medicaid eligibility.

As pathologists CAP members understand that access to providers and quality, affordable care including, preventive care, cancer screenings, and treatment for chronic illnesses, is essential for communities of color, rural communities, and other underserved populations. The CAP supports legislative efforts to understand the social determinants that drive health care disparities and improve equity in health care access.

HHS Will No Longer Distribute Viral Transport Media

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will no longer distribute viral transport media to states and jurisdictions, and the final order is scheduled for the week of June 6. Laboratories and testing facilities that receive supplies from their state health departments should plan accordingly. However, the distribution of nasopharyngeal swabs will continue uninterrupted.

The HHS, specifically the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), issued an emergency use authorization in February of 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which included media transportation to states and jurisdictions. In addition, the federal government continues to work closely with manufacturers to ensure that the nation’s supply of COVID-19-related supplies is not disrupted.

Below is a list of resources from the HHS for laboratories:

Join the Revamped CAP’s Grassroots Network PathNET

The CAP is excited to announce that PathNET, the CAP’s grassroots advocacy network, is transitioning to a more comprehensive, easier-to-follow program, where members can earn points with their level of involvement. Now, PathNET members can get points each year for their grassroots advocacy activities. CAP members will be eligible for recognition based on the number of points they earn.

Through PathNET, CAP members build relationships with their state and federal legislatures, and due to their commitment to their work, they can articulate to members of Congress the impact policies they are legislating will have on pathologists and patient care. CAP members mobilize by responding to action alerts, attending town halls in their districts, sending personalized emails to Congressional offices, hosting laboratory tours with their members of Congress, and learning about policy issues.

Most recently, a record-breaking number of CAP members met with Congress to advocate for a delay in the upcoming Medicare cuts pathologists face, request increased funding to address medical workforce shortages, and prepare for future pandemics. Out of the 241 pathologists that participated, 42% are PathNET members. As we gear up for summer recess with elections coming up, Congress will have shorter sessions. PathNET congressional champions will be activated this summer to meet with their members of Congress while they are in the district.

If you have already hosted your member of Congress or the state legislature for a laboratory tour, or if you are interested, fill out this form.

Join over 800 pathologists nationwide who advocate Congress and the state legislatures to protect pathologists and the services they provide, including ensuring laboratory quality. Join PathNET today!

Last Week to Test Your Advocacy Knowledge

It’s the last week of May and the last chance to take this month’s Advocacy news quiz!. See how you compare against your fellow CAP members and brag about your top scores on social!

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Breaking Advocacy News: Check out the Advocacy Twitter Channel

Want up to the minute CAP Advocacy news? Then follow us on twitter at CAPDCAdvocacy, where you will be the first to know about CAP Advocacy wins, see your fellow members engage with Congressional leaders on key policies affecting the practice of pathology and, of course, breaking Advocacy news.

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