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Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) recently signed on as a co-sponsor to the Local Coverage Determination Clarification Act, bringing the total number of senators supporting the bill to 22.

Pathologists are lobbying Congress to enact the Local Coverage Determination Clarification Act before the end of the year. The CAP urges the Senate to pass its bipartisan version of the LCD reform bill to ensure essential patient protection provisions become law. Action on the LCD bill moved to the Senate after the House passed a watered-down version of its bill on September 12.

The CAP advocates to ensure local Medicare coverage decisions are made by qualified health experts, through a transparent process, based on sound medical evidence that’s not used selectively. Medicare contractors should be required to independently review LCDs and be further prevented from rubberstamping another contractor’s LCD. The Senate version of the LCD bill would also create a meaningful appeal process that requires a qualified third party to make decisions about the validity of LCD reconsideration requests.

STATLINE will continue to report on LCD updates.

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The House of Representatives and Senate overwhelmingly passed comprehensive legislation to address the opioid epidemic on September 28 and October 3, respectively. The Support for Patients and Communities Act is expected to be signed into law by President Donald J. Trump Jr. within the next few days.

Key provisions in the bill aim to:

  • Curtail the trafficking of illicit opioids.
  • Encourage the development of nonaddictive painkillers.
  • Expand access to addiction treatment and prevention programs.

As pathologists often have a role in investigating drug overdoses and certifying causes of death, they see firsthand when overdose deaths are increasing in their communities. The legislation recognizes that autopsy reports are an important source of information for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to track drug-specific deaths. The bill will require data from autopsy reports to be included in surveillance information to help address the current opioid and future drug epidemics.

The CAP also advocated for language that will provide grant money to states and localities to assist in the standardization of data between medical examiner and coroner offices nationwide.

At CAP18, Discussing the Pathologists’ Role to Confront the Opioid Epidemic

Considering the CAP’s advocacy to support pathologists addressing the opioid crisis, a session at CAP18 will facilitate a discussion between policymakers and thought leaders on issues related to the epidemic. The session entitled The Role of Pathologists in Addressing the Opioid Epidemic (STA009) will feature Barbarajean Magnani, PhD, MD, FCAP, chair of the CAP’s Toxicology Committee, and American Medical Association Chair-Elect Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH.

The session is also designed to highlight how we can work together with federal policymakers to better understand and monitor the factors driving the opioid epidemic and the effects on practicing clinicians. Improving the way that opioids are prescribed and monitored through will ensure that patients have access to safer chronic pain management while reducing the risk of opioid use disorder, overdose, and death.

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Diana Cardona, MD, FCAP

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) appointed Diana M. Cardona, MD, FCAP, to its Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) Improvement Activities (IA) Technical Expert Panel. Dr. Cardona, who was nominated to the position by the CAP, will represent pathologists, as non-patient facing eligible clinicians, and their perspectives when considering components of the IA category of MIPS. This CMS Technical Expert Panel will review Improvement Activities to ensure they are valid and appropriate, while shaping future updates.

Dr. Cardona is currently the chair of the CAP Measures and Performance Assessment Subcommittee, which has discussed and reviewed the IA category and specific activities that are most likely applicable to pathologists. In addition, Dr. Cardona was instrumental with the CAP to encourage the CMS to clarify Improvement Activities so that they can better apply to pathologists, making her uniquely qualified to serve on the technical expert panel.

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CAP members can now take advantage of a new recurring donation feature to fund PathPAC. Recurring donations, which allows pathologists to contribute in frequencies from monthly to annual increments, give pathologists new options to participate in PathPAC and strengthen pathologists’ voices in the political process.

PathPAC, the CAP’s political action committee, allows pathologists to speak with one voice in the political process and ensure that pathologists are supporting members of Congress who understand and support the practice of pathology. Contributions, including those utilizing the new recurring donation feature, can be made through the CAP’s e-store.

All contributions to PathPAC are voluntary and CAP members and their families can opt out of contribution without retribution. PathPAC can only be funded by CAP individual members and disbursed to federal candidates for Congress. PathPAC is prohibited from accepting corporate contributions due to federal election law. If you’re interested in making a corporate contribution to support CAP’s advocacy programs, you can contribute to our Political Education Fund. Any donations to the PathPAC or the Political Education Fund are not tax deductible.

Watch a new video featuring CAP members discussing the importance of PathPAC for pathologists and its impact on the political process.

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As part of our ongoing commitment to ensure pathologists can successfully participate in new and evolving payment models, the CAP offers MIPS educational webinars.

The next webinar in the series is open for registration is the 2019 Final Medicare Policy and Payment Changes on November 9, 2018 at 11 AM ET. As one of the most watched webinars the CAP offers, learn as CAP experts review the final regulations to the 2019 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule and the Quality Payment Program.

Presenters are:

Donald Karcher, MD, FCAP

Donald S. Karcher, MD, FCAP
Chair of the Council on Government and Professional Affairs

Emily E. Volk, MD, FCAP

Emily E. Volk, MD, FCAP
Vice-Chair of the Council on Government and Professional Affairs
Chair of the CAP Clinical Data Registry Ad-Hoc Committee

W. Stephen Black-Schaffer MD, FCAP

W. Stephen Black-Schaffer MD, FCAP
Chair of the CAP Economic Affairs Committee

Other upcoming webinars in the MIPS series are open for registration:

Quality Measures that Will Improve Your MIPS Score
Tuesday, December 4, 2018, Noon ET
Diana Cardona, MD, FCAP
Examine ways of improving your performance and MIPS scores using CAP-developed quality measures.

Steps to Take Before Reporting MIPS Data
Tuesday, January 8, 2019, 3PM ET
Emily Volk, MD, MBA, FCAP
Discover ways of maximizing your scoring for 2018 before submitting results to CMS.

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Are you being paid fairly for the services you provide? Payment for pathology services has a direct impact on the success of your practice. Do you know who makes these decisions—and what criteria they use? Are there steps you can take to ensure fair compensation? These topics and more will be explored at CAP18.

Educational Sessions

  • MACRAscopic Analysis of the New Quality Payment Program: Maximize Reimbursement While Demonstrating Value (S1620)
  • How Is My Payment Determined for Pathology Services? Non-CME course (STA008)
  • The CAP’s Policy and Advocacy Agenda (STA010)
  • The Role of Pathologists in Population Health: An Interactive Discussion (STA011)
  • What You Need to Know About the CAP’s Pathologists Quality Registry Non-CME course
  • Lunch Roundtables
    • Current Payment Policy Challenges in Pathology Practice (R1691)
    • My Surgical Pathology and Cytopathology Coding Dilemmas: Getting It Right—An Advanced Discussion (R1690)

Learning Pavilion Sessions

  • Understanding and Maximizing your MIPS Score
  • How to Keep Your Practice Afloat While Reimbursement Rates Decline

CAP Exhibit Booth

  • Pathologists Quality Registry Demos
  • MIPS Resources for Pathologists
  • Billing and Cost Assessment Toolkits

Registration is now open for vital CAP policy and advocacy courses and roundtable discussions during CAP18.

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