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May 9, 2017

In This Issue:

On May 4 the Senate voted to approve a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government through September, preventing a government shutdown.

In addition to funding the federal government, the bill states that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will get a $2 billion funding boost over the next five months. The NIH funding hike includes an extra $400 million to research Alzheimer's disease and an additional $476 million for the National Cancer Institute. It also boosts spending on two of former President Barack Obama's Precision Medicine Initiatives, which will get an increase of $120 million as it seeks to recruit volunteers for genetic testing and health tracking.

The bill also gives the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) $39 million more than its fiscal 2016 enacted level. The agreement also includes language instructing the FDA to work with Congress on a variety of issues, including regulation of laboratory-developed tests (LDTs),including working with Congress to address "issues and concerns regarding the regulation," and agency staffing levels, and blocks the administration from using unrealistic user fee requests as a means of artificially boosting the agency's budget.

The five-month spending measure clears the way for Congress to begin talks on spending priorities for the next fiscal year that begins in October.

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If you have not already done so, help the CAP understand the state of pathology by completing the 2017 Practice Characteristics Survey by this Friday, May 12. The CAP uses the data collected to help fuel its advocacy efforts and to educate policy influencers and health care leaders about the significant role and value of the pathologist in the delivery of patient care.

Survey participants can help the CAP to better serve its members by participating in the 15 minute survey and by answering questions about:

  • Vital practice member characteristic data
  • Information on the concerns and challenges of the CAP member
  • Compensation data, including salary and benefits
  • Practice-related data

Respondents are eligible for a drawing for one of four $150 Amazon gift cards. The CAP has already awarded Amazon gift cards to 3 winners, and this is the last week to qualify for a $150 Amazon gift card.

You should have received an email invitation from with a link that is unique to you. If you have not received your invitation, please check your spam filter or contact us at This survey is available to board-certified pathologists who are currently practicing in the US. The survey excludes full-time retirees, pathologists practicing in different countries, and junior members of the CAP.

The survey should take 15 minutes to complete. The CAP will share the survey findings with its members in a full report and provide early access to the data to those who finish the survey.

All responses are kept strictly confidential. Responses will be reported in aggregate form only. No individual practice information will be uniquely identified or shared.

Complete your survey soon before it closes on May 12.

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently sent out letters from the Medicare Administrative Contractor that processes Medicare Part B claims regarding participation status of each Merit-Based Incentive Program (MIPS) clinician associated with the Taxpayer Identification Number or TIN in a practice.

According to the CMS, clinicians who bill more than $30,000 in Medicare Part B allowed charges a year and provide care for more than 100 Part B-enrolled Medicare beneficiaries a year should participate in the MIPS Quality Payment Program (QPP) for the 2017 transition year.

If you are unsure if you or your practice qualifies for MIPS, the CMS QPP web page has a tool where physicians can input their National Provider Identifier (NPI) to see if they are exempt from MIPS.

The QPP intends to shift reimbursement from the volume of services provided toward a payment system that rewards clinicians for their overall work in delivering the best care for patients. It replaces the Sustainable Growth Rate formula and streamlines the "Legacy Programs" Physician Quality Reporting System, the Value-based Payment Modifier, and the Medicare Electronic Health Records Incentive Program.

During this first year of the program CMS is committed to diligently working with physicians to streamline the process and reduce burdensome requirements.

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In 2018, most pathologists will need to take action to stop penalties from reducing future Medicare payments for their services.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) soon will issue its latest proposed rulemaking that implements provisions of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). On June 7 at 1 PM ET, the CAP will host a 60-minute webinar to discuss the CMS' proposals for participating in the 2018 Medicare Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) program, including options for preventing Medicare penalties.

Patrick E. Godbey, MD, FCAP, Chair of the CAP Council on Government and Professional Affairs; Jonathan L. Myles MD, FCAP, Chair, of the CAP Economic Affairs Committee and; Diana Cardona, MD, FCAP, Chair of the CAP Economic Affairs Measures & Performance Assessment Subcommittee, will discuss how these proposed Medicare pay changes under MACRA will affect pathologists in 2018, so CAP members will be informed and prepared during this webinar.

By registering you will also receive a link to a recording of the presentation following the live event. Registrants will receive the link to the recording even if they are unable to attend the session on June 7.

Register today.

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