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Editor's note: This article has been updated to clarify that the 2017 MIPS Reporting Solution is a free benefit for CAP members.

The CAP is pleased to announce it's offering a 2017 MIPS Reporting Solution as a free benefit for CAP members. The 2017 MIPS Reporting Solution was announced during CAP17, when the CAP launched its new Pathologists Quality Registry for pathologists.

Developed by pathologists for pathologists, the Pathologists Quality Registry offers pathology-specific quality measures and attestation for improvement activities to help pathologists demonstrate quality care, while maximizing Medicare payment bonus potential.

The Pathologists Quality Registry is a one-stop reporting tool for most participants, as it is the first approved pathology-specific Qualified Clinical Data Registry (QCDR) by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that will help to reduce reporting burdens by allowing participants not only to report on physician quality measures, but also to attest to improvement activities under the Medicare Quality Payment Program (QPP).

With $2.1 billion in Medicare payment at stake over the next seven years, the CAP is helping to ensure pathologists have the tools and resources needed to demonstrate value and increase their Medicare reimbursement. Through the CAP’s partnership with FIGmd, the leading registry vendor for specialty physicians, the CAP announces that it is offering a 2017 MIPS reporting solution for pathologists to maximize their Medicare bonus potential. The CAP encourages pathologists to take advantage of this member benefit, regardless of how they are currently reporting.

The CAP has worked to ensure that pathologists have earned millions of dollars in Medicare quality payment incentives and staved off penalties in recent years by developing pathologist-specific measures. As Medicare has transitioned to MIPS in 2017, the CAP offers its members options to not just avoid a future 4% Medicare reduction, but also easily seek a MIPS bonus.

"Through the development of pathology-specific quality measures for more than 10 years, the CAP has persistently protected the value of pathology and simplified regulatory compliance for pathologists, making the CAP the ideal partner to guide pathologists in the new era of value-based care," said Richard C. Friedberg, MD, PhD, FCAP, the CAP's immediate past president. "The Pathologists Quality Registry is the performance improvement tool that can help participants enhance patient care and practice performance by providing essential benchmarking for peer comparison, while helping pathologists comply with MIPS reporting requirements."

The registry enhances pathology MIPS reporting and can integrate with billing and laboratory information systems. This will further ease the reporting burden for pathologists and improve opportunities to increase Medicare reimbursements through the Medicare QPP.

For MIPS reporting, the Pathologists Quality Registry accommodates the CMS-established categories of patient-facing and non-patient-facing physicians for CAP members. By using the Pathologists Quality Registry, pathologists can optimize bonus potential by reporting on pathology-specific measures, some of which are only available in the registry, offering a better opportunity for pathologists to qualify for bonuses. Moreover, registry participants have the potential to earn a full bonus for attesting to improvement activities. The CAP will make it easier on pathologists by providing pathology-specific resources on how to comply and attest to improvement activities to qualify for the full bonus.

The CAP has partnered in the development of the Pathologists Quality Registry with FIGmd, a company that specializes in integrating electronic health records (EHRs) with registries. FIGmd has developed and maintained registries for several specialty societies, including the American College of Cardiology, American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Academy of Dermatology, American College of Emergency Physicians, American Academy of Neurology, American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, American College of Rheumatology, and American Urological Association.

Learn more about the Pathologists Quality Registry.

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The CAP is proud to announce the release of the much anticipated tenth 2017 Practice Characteristics Survey (Survey). The 2017 Practice Characteristics Survey helps the CAP set advocacy priorities and understand market pressures and environmental changes that affect practicing pathologists. Survey findings were presented at CAP17.

The 2017 Practice Characteristics Survey was sent to almost 14,000 board certified pathologists, including members and CAP non-members. Because the survey was designed to capture trends in economic practice arrangements of pathologists practicing in the US, this survey was not sent to Junior Members still in residency, to CAP members who are identified as being in fellowship training, or to pathologists living outside the US.

Survey findings revealed:

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

The survey is designed to discover new trends and to understand the impact of market changes and public policy on pathologists, such as pathologist participation in accountable care organizations (ACOs) and the identification of advocacy issues most important to individual pathologists. The CAP's Policy Roundtable oversees the development and execution of the Practice Characteristics Survey.

Since 1994, this survey has been the primary source of basic demographic data on pathologists, how they practice, and how they are being compensated. It also tracks changes that are occurring in the workforce among CAP members. The last Practice Characteristics Survey came out in 2014.

Check out the Practice Characteristics Survey.

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The CAP is requesting the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) to retain its current recommendation that cytology and HPV co-testing be included as a screening strategy for women ages 30 to 65. The CAP submitted a statement advocating for co-testing for cervical cancer screening, as well as recommend that primary HPV screening use only a test platform validated for that purpose and that any HPV primary screening method be applied every three years.

In September, the USPSTF released draft cervical cancer screening recommendations for public comment. Most of the draft recommendations from 2012 were retained except for the recommendation that women ages 30 to 65 get screened either every three years with cervical cytology alone or every five years with high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) testing alone.

The CAP opposed this change and urged the task force to retain the co-testing option, which it says is current clinical practice and supported by medical scientific evidence, in comments submitted to the USPSTF on October 9. The current practice guidelines advocate for co-current testing as being preferred.

The CAP also urges that primary HPV screening use only a test platform validated for that purpose and that any HPV primary screening method be applied every three years, not every five years as recommended by the USPSTF in its most recent draft proposal. The only HPV testing method approved by the Food and Drug Administration is the Roche cobas method, whose approval was based on a clinical trial that had only three years of follow-up data. The American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology and the Society of Gynecologic Oncology recommend primary HPV screening at least every three years, says the CAP in its comments. A longer interval of five years is not recommended because of insufficient data comparing co-testing to HPV primary screening in U.S. populations.

The CAP supports the USPSTF's recommendations for women younger than 21, older than age 65 and women who have had a hysterectomy. The CAP is working with the Cytology Education and Technology Consortium (CETC), to urge the USPTF that cytology and HPV co-testing be included as a screening strategy for women ages 30 to 65.

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Diana Cardona, MD, FCAP

Each month, STATLINE will feature one of the many CAP members who have been champions for pathology in Washington and at the state level through our grassroots and PAC programs. If you would like to get involved, you can join PathNET, contribute to PathPAC, or join your state pathology society.

Name: Diana Cardona, MD, FCAP
Position: Associate Professor of Pathology, Medical Director, Surgical Pathology and Immunopathology Laboratory Services Chief, Bone and Soft Tissue Pathology Section, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC

Why should your colleagues get involved in advocacy?

Who can articulate what we do and the challenges we face better than us? The ones working hard every day to deliver quality patient care, educate our medical colleagues, patients, and future pathologists, and/or trying to advance health care through research. I know that, for some, advocacy may seem like more work, or they think that they don’t like politics, but I would encourage those individuals to at least just stay informed. You will not be caught off guard of future changes or requirements, and you’ll be better prepared to potentially act in the future.

Do you have a favorite memory or experience that stands out in your advocacy work?

I don't know if I have just one favorite memory because I have enjoyed being a part of all of it. Staff and volunteer CAP members really work hard, and I truly hope that our efforts fulfill the goal of helping pathologists succeed in this ever-changing legislative health care landscape, while also improving the care of our patients. Along those lines, I am very excited about the launch of the CAP's new Pathologists Quality Registry, whose aim is to enable pathologists to successfully participate in the CMS’ mandatory Quality Payment Program while providing benchmarking tools to enable a practice to identify areas in which they both excel in or could potentially improve the quality of care they provide. This new tool will be launched in October at the annual meeting. This is only the starting point and I believe that over time the registry's utility will only grow.

What was your greatest fear or concern about becoming an advocate for the profession before you got involved? Was your fear/concern justified?

I remember my first Hill Day during a Policy Meeting several years ago. I was petrified. What if I said the wrong thing or didn’t get my point across? My stomach was literally in knots. But it actually went really well. The legislators' staff were appreciative of my time, as I was of theirs, and they took an interest in understanding the concerns and potential solutions we were presenting. I even got a follow-up email from them after the meeting. It felt great having the opportunity to exercise my right to speak with my legislators and voice my concerns.

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Registration is open for now the 2018 CAP Policy Meeting.

The annual CAP policy meeting, which is set for from April 30–May 2 at the Washington Marriott in Washington, DC, enables CAP members to connect with government leaders and policy experts to discuss the impact of federal regulation on their pathology practices.

New regulations are taking shape that will impact pathology reimbursements for years to come. Attendees at the CAP Policy Meeting will receive the latest information and analysis on the implementation of new Medicare and laboratory regulations. The CAP is actively engaged in the legislative and regulatory arenas on the critical issues facing pathology and laboratory medicine, including physician payment reform, reducing regulatory burdens, and improving health care quality.

The CAP Policy Meeting will also include meetings with members of Congress and their staff during the CAP’s Annual Hill Day on May 2, which is the specialty's opportunity to focus on the federal issues most important to pathologists now and in the future.

The CAP Policy Meeting is a benefit of CAP Membership. There is no fee to register.

Register for the 2018 Policy Meeting.

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