Advocacy Update

Read the Advocacy Update

May 4, 2021

In this Issue:

Pathologists Advocate to Reduce Medicare Cuts at Leadership Summit

To prepare for the CAP’s annual Hill Day, CAP members discussed strategies for how they will engage their members of Congress and lobby to mitigate future Medicare cuts at the Pathologists Leadership Summit. Additionally, CAP Advocacy leaders discussed the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and the vital role that pathologists have in diagnosing and tracking the virus. During the third day of the meeting on May 3, CAP Advocacy leaders prepared attendees to ask Congress to mitigate the impact of a 6% Medicare cut to pathology services beginning in 2022.

During his overview of the CAP Advocacy, Chair of the Council of Government and Professional Affairs (CGPA) Jonathan Myles, MD, FCAP, reviewed how the CAP has worked together with a coalition of other medical specialties to discuss advocacy strategies to mitigate future cuts. The CAP’s Advocacy leaders also reviewed how other cuts from budgetary mechanisms, like the sequester, affect all of medicine.

In his remarks, CAP President Dr. Godbey passionately described the importance of pathologists advocating for their profession and educating legislators on the impact of their payment policies. “Our profession and the work we do on behalf of our patients is significantly impacted by those laws and policies. How those regulations and laws are implemented at the national, state, and local in many ways dictate to us how we can practice,” said Dr. Godbey. “Who better than pathologists to tell our elected officials how their decisions affect our laboratories and our patients? No one can explain our policy concerns better than we can.”

On May 4, about 200 CAP members will ask legislators to extend the relief provided in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 for next year. Specifically, the members will ask that Congress appropriate an additional $3 billion to mitigate the impact of the 6% cut to pathology evaluation and management services beginning in 2022.

Pathologists Strengthen Leadership Skills at Inaugural Summit

For its inaugural meeting, members met virtually at the 2021 Pathologists Leadership Summit from May 1-4. This is the first time that the Spring House of Delegates meeting and the former Policy Meeting came together to provide members essential leadership, communication, advocacy, and practice management skills.

Roughly 500 members registered to hear updates from their states during the morning House of Delegates session. Karl Rove, seasoned political strategist, best known for managing President George W. Bush’s presidential victories, provided an intriguing keynote address on America’s challenges in the next chapter.

On May 2, Keynote speaker and presidential historian Michael Beschloss discussed presidential leadership and the skills leaders need when heading organizations. Mr. Beschloss discussed the leadership styles of presidents from George Washington to Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

Couldn’t Attend the 2021 Pathologists Leadership Summit? Use PathNET to Lobby Congress

On May 4, pathologists will meet with congressional offices and advocate for pathology during the CAP’s annual Hill Day. CAP members will ask their elected officials to extend the relief provided in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 for next year.

If you couldn’t make it to 2021 Pathologists Leadership Summit this year, you can still make a difference from your home or office! Visit our Action Center to help support our advocacy on mitigating Medicare cuts.

The CAP has asked its members to use this form to submit the advocacy activities they wish to engage to stop the Medicare cut. For more information, review our E/M Advocacy Toolkit, issue brief, and fact sheet.

Join PathNET and visit the Action Center today.

The CAP, Others Urge Congress to Support CDC’s Advanced Molecular Detection Program

Along with 46 other medical and health organizations, the CAP urged Congress to support funding for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Advanced Molecular Detection program. The group wants Congress to approve $60 million in base funding for the CDC’s Advanced Molecular Detection program in the fiscal year 2022. The base funding level of $30 million has been flat since 2014. The CAP advocates for programs that advance and study pathogen genomics in public health.

In two April 28 letters to both House and Senate appropriation leaders, the group asked for funding for the Advanced Molecular Detection (AMD) program, which “uses next-generation sequencing (NGS) to bring the concept of precision medicine to bear for ‘precision public health.’” The groups emphasized how AMD “played a critical role in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, enabling the United States to sequence SARS-CoV-2 within one week of its detection last year.”

The additional funding would help support initiatives in the following areas:

  • Innovation in the field of public health. The COVID-19 pandemic and the 2016 Zika outbreak exemplified how the CDC and state and local public health laboratories now use AMD technologies on virtually the entire spectrum of emerging infectious diseases.
  • Embedding AMD fully in state and local health departments. State and local public health departments need the infrastructure to implement AMD programs that are capable of responding to emerging threats or changing priorities.
  • Expanded collaboration between public health and academic research institutions. Increased investment towards these collaborations would further the US as a leader in this area and build on existing consortia like SPHERES that have demonstrated tremendous value.

The groups reiterated that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need to grow and sustain the AMD research base budget.

CAP Hosts Media Briefing on Life for Laboratories After COVID-19

On April 28, the CAP hosted its second virtual media forum of 2021, Life for Laboratories after COVID-19, in its ongoing commitment to educating media and the public on COVID-19 testing and the pandemic. The session, which was moderated by Speaker of the CAP House of Delegates Kathryn Knight, MD, FCAP, CAP President Patrick Godbey, MD, FCAP and Chair of the Council on Government and Professional Affairs Jonathan Myles, MD, FCAP discussed the challenges of managing the impact of COVID-19 on laboratories and patient access. The group also discussed the impact of the latest COVID-19 federal testing programs during the first 100 days of the Biden administration. Additionally, the group discussed the implications for patients who postponed their care because of the pandemic and the issues laboratories face when patients come back for care.

“With the Biden Administration’s first 100 days now complete and as the country continues to be vaccinated and move into a new phase, this forum provided a perfect opportunity to discuss the continued critical role of testing and our vision forward,” says CAP President Patrick Godbey, MD, FCAP, who introduced the program and was a panelist. “We thought it important to take a close look at the current challenges facing pathologists and the laboratories we direct, the implications of delayed testing due to the pandemic, as well as what our members are saying about the current and future state of testing.

There are still persistent issues with testing supplies, said Dr. Godbey, “and the actions by the government so far are headed in the right direction and needed. At the same time, supply shortages for testing materials could be mitigated by the decreased demand for COVID-19 testing because fewer patients are coming in with symptoms.”

During the briefing, Dr. Myles also addressed Medicare cuts that pathologists and other medical specialties are slated for major cuts in its reimbursement programs beginning in 2022. “This is not the time for cuts because our costs are up, our revenues have decreased, and we’ve responded to the pandemic by getting testing going. This would be devastating for our practices.” If nothing changes, pathologists will be subject to a 6% Medicare cut in 2022.

Review the full briefing program video recording and transcript.

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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New Month, New Advocacy News Quiz

It’s May which means a new Advocacy News Quiz. Last month, over 60 pathologists took the quiz. See how you compare against your fellow CAP members’ in the May News Quiz and brag about your top scores on social!

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