October 25, 2022
In this Issue:
CDC Releases Specimen Guidance for Ebola as Uganda Deals with Outbreak
In response to an outbreak of Ebola in East Africa, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released guidance for clinical laboratories for Ebola specimen collection in the United States on October 18. The CDC guidance followed a Uganda Ministry of Health (MOH) announcement of the first positive case of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Uganda in 2022, caused by the Sudan virus (species Sudan ebolavirus) with the World Health Organization stating Uganda's Ebola outbreak is “rapidly evolving.”
No confirmed cases of Ebola virus in the US
The CDC stated in its guidance that clinical laboratories should consult with public health laboratories before shipping specimens. Eleven public health laboratories within the laboratory response network (LRN) can perform Ebola testing for the Sudan strain. The CDC published resources available on methods for collecting and shipping Ebola specimens.
At this time, there are no Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved countermeasures such as vaccines or therapeutics for Ebola Sudan strain. In addition, there are not any FDA-approved rapid tests for the Sudan strain, but the FDA is currently in discussion with other federal agencies to address this issue.
New Jersey Pathologists Advocates for Network Adequacy
On October 13, the New Jersey Society of Pathologists (NJSP), with CAP support, urged the adoption of health plan network adequacy amendments to A 4485, which include provisions applicable to hospital and facility-based physician specialists, including pathology before the New Jersey Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee. The CAP will work closely with the physician coalition and the New Jersey Medical Society to secure network adequacy requirements for hospital and facility-based physicians.
The NJSP stated that, “If plans are not compelled to provide accurate marketing of in-network services, especially pathology and laboratory services, with specialist physicians contracted on-site to provide timely and reasonable access to enrollees, then payers are engaged in bait-and-switch marketing. These schemes harm enrollees by potentially delaying essential medical services, or by diverting their services to out-of-network physicians.”
For several years, the NJSP has worked closely with other specialties, including anesthesiology, radiology, and emergency medicine to seek enactment of a statutory mandate to compel state review of health plans for hospital and facility-based physician network adequacy comprised of the specialties. Facility-based and hospital physician network adequacy laws and regulations were enacted across the country in Washington, Virginia, Louisiana, California, and New Hampshire.
In concluding remarks, the NJSP affirmed that, “At present, the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance lacks the necessary statutory authority and direction to scrutinize health insurance plans for having contracts with physician specialists at in-network hospitals and facilities.”
PathPAC Updates from CAP22
PathPAC showcased how members can raise the CAP’s profile in Congress during the CAP22 Annual Meeting in New Orleans earlier this month. In addition to collecting nearly $16,000 in support from those at CAP22, PathPAC a member of Congress to meet with attendees to discuss current legislative and health care policy issues facing pathologists. When pathologists’ voices are heard on crucial health care issues, lawmakers can make informed decisions on policies affecting pathologists and their patients.
Kicking off the advocacy-related programming, PathPAC proudly sponsored the House of Delegates and Residents Forum luncheon with guest speaker Amy Walter of Cook Political Report. Ms. Walter, a well-known political reporter, and analyst, highlighted the political uncertainty of the coming mid-term elections while also emphasizing the importance of remaining engaged in the political process.
In addition to the lunch even, PathPAC also recognized and celebrated its supporters with two receptions—both receptions gave PAC members the chance to connect with Rep. Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN), the special guest of the evening. Attendees thanked Rep. Bucshon for championing many pro-pathology issues, including his recent introduction of H.R.8800, Providers Act of 2022. There was robust discussion on a range of topics, including the midterm elections, laboratory workforce, and COVID-19’s lasting impact on the nation’s health care system.
These events displayed PathPAC’s value in building relationships with lawmakers and educating them on the CAP’s policy agenda.
Upcoming Advocacy Webinars
Pathologists Advocating for Health Equity
On Tuesday, November 1 at 11 AM ET/ 10 AM CT, the CAP will offer a complimentary webinar on disparities in health care and what federal policies are in discussion to combat this issue. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated underlying disparities in health and health care, emphasizing the importance of addressing them. The federal government is prioritizing health equity as part of the pandemic response and recovery effort. In response to federal action, the CAP has developed policies addressing these disparities. CAP President Emily E. Volk, MD, FCAP and Governor from the Board of Governors Kalisha Hill, MD, FCAP, will discuss the colleges approach to these vital policy issues.
Good Faith Estimates - What Pathologists Need to Know Webinar
On Wednesday, November 2 at 1 PM ET/ 12 PM CT, the CAP will offer a complimentary live webinar where CAP experts Council of Government and Professional Affairs Jonathan Myles, MD, FCAP and member of the Economic Affairs Committee Theresa Emory, MD, FCAP, will explain what pathologists need to know for good faith estimates in compliance with the No Surprises Act regulations. Additionally, the speakers will review what pathologists and their practices must do to comply with the new regulations in 2023.
What Will Be the Impact of the Final Fee Schedule on Your Practice?
Soon the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will release the final 2023 Medicare payment regulations, including the final Medicare Physician Fee Schedule and the Quality Payment Program regulations.
On Monday, December 5 at 3 PM ET/ 2 PM CT, the CAP will offer a complementary live webinar where CAP experts will review final regulations that will impact Medicare payment for services and pathologists’ participation in the quality initiatives. Webinar presenters will be the Council on Government and Professional Affairs Chair Jonathan Myles, MD, FCAP; Economic Affairs Committee Chair Stephen Black-Schaffer, MD, FCAP; and Quality and Clinical Data Registry Affairs Committee Chair Diana Cardona, MD, FCAP.
Last week to take October News Quiz
It’s the last week to test your October News Quiz! Last month over 60 fellow members took the quiz. See how you compare against your fellow CAP members and brag about your top scores on social!