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Quarterly Advocacy Update

Keeping you informed on policy issues affecting pathology and laboratory medicine.

Recap of the Latest Advocacy News from July-September 2021

In this Issue:

CAP Lobbies House Leaders on Health Provisions in Reconciliation Bill

With House lawmakers debating a budget reconciliation legislative package, the CAP engaged with House leadership to support expanding access to health care insurance coverage, improving the pandemic response, and addressing health inequities. In a September 17 letter to House leaders, the CAP also asked the elected officials to stop upcoming cuts to pathologists’ Medicare payments and address physician shortages throughout the United States. Read more

Bipartisan Congressional Efforts to Address Social Determinants of Health Gain Support from the CAP

In letters to federal legislators, the CAP stated its support for bipartisan legislation that brings health care agencies together to tackle social determinants of health and improves outcomes for the patients pathologists serve. In another piece of bicameral legislation, the CAP supported efforts to coordinate health data at federal and state levels, including data derived from laboratories, by enhancing electronic reporting and syndromic surveillance. Read more

CAP Seeks Changes to 21st Century Cures Act 2.0 Legislation

Building on the 21st Century Cures Act that became law in 2016, the CAP has engaged with House lawmakers drafting the second version of legislation that aims to advance medical research and foster a new era of medical innovation. On August 27, the CAP provided its initial feedback on a legislative discussion draft that touched on several areas that would impact pathology and laboratory medicine. This included opposition to a provision that would allow pharmacists to interpret test results. Read more

FDA Welcomes the CAP to its Network of Experts

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the College of American Pathologists for admission to its Network of Experts to provide the agency with additional expertise on pathology and laboratory medicine issues, such as those concerning the COVID-19 pandemic and artificial intelligence. Read more

CAP Calls for All Physicians, Health Professionals to Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19

The CAP and the Cancer Leadership Council called on all physicians and other health care professionals to get the COVID-19 vaccine and protect the patients they serve. On August 16, CAP President Patrick Godbey, MD, FCAP issued a statement supporting pathologists and laboratories who develop policies requiring physicians and laboratory personnel to be vaccinated providing reasonable exceptions for medical reasons or those identified in applicable federal or state laws. Read more

CDC Launches Disease Outbreak Forecasting Center Supported by CAP

On August 18, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a new center designed to forecast outbreaks and provide public health decision-making analytics. The new Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics will bring together public health data and disease experts to accelerate access to data for public health decision-makers to mitigate the effects of disease threats. Read more

Advocacy Win: Florida Enacts Genetic Privacy Law Amended by Florida Pathologists, CAP

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed genetic privacy legislation that the Florida Society of Pathologists and the CAP amended to protect the scope of practice for pathologists and eliminate unnecessary burdens. The CAP collaborates with state pathology societies to ensure state laws regarding laboratory personnel have a scope of practice consistent with their education and training. Read more

Massachusetts Pathologists Urged State to Follow Federal ‘No Surprises Act’

With assistance from the CAP, the Massachusetts Society of Pathologists testified in opposition to the establishment of a default out-of-network commercial reimbursement rate for emergency and non-emergency services. For several years, the CAP worked closely with Congress and other stakeholders to develop the bipartisan No Surprises Act, creating an equitable arbitration process to determine how much insurers must pay out-of-network providers. Read more

RI Pathologists, CAP Amend Genetic Counselor Licensure Legislation Passes House

The Rhode Island Society of Pathologists and the CAP, in coordination with the National Society of Genetic Counselors, amended House Bill 5147 by removing genetic counselors' ability to interpret genetic test results. The CAP works closely with state pathology societies to ensure genetic counselors’ scope of practice does not adversely impact pathologists’ scope of practice. Read more

California Pathologists Secure Favorable Reimbursement Law

On July 27, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a comprehensive health care budget trailer bill (AB 133), which raised the Medi-Cal rate methodology to 100% of Medicare for clinical or laboratory services and prevents future retroactive reimbursement reductions and recoupments. The California Society of Pathologists successfully advocated for increasing the Medi-Cal payment rates to 100% of Medicare as reflected in the new law. Read more

Advocacy Win: CAP-Created Consult Codes Included in Proposed 2022 Medicare Payment Regulation

On July 13, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the proposed 2022 Medicare physician fee schedule by including CAP-developed pathology Consult Codes. The CAP successfully advocated for the inclusion of new and improved codes and values for pathology consultation services in the proposed 2022 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. Read more

FDA Authorizes Imported ‘Blue-Top’ Tubes to Address National Shortage

On July 22, the FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization to import and increase the supply of “blue-top” test tubes. The FDA action came after the CAP raised the shortage to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in June. The CAP also issued initial guidance to pathologists and laboratory professionals on the blue-top tubes shortage and reviewed them with the FDA. Read more

AMA, CAP Urge VA to Reconsider Scope of Practice Changes for Nonphysicians

The CAP and the American Medical Association, along with over 100 other health care and medical professional groups, opposed the recent action taken by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that proposes that nonphysicians can provide health care services that are outside their scope of practice. The CAP strongly advocates to protect patients and the pathologists’ scope of practice. Read more

CAP Asks CMS to Clarify Pathology Clinical Consultation Codes Before Implementation

The CAP successfully advocated to include new CPT codes for pathology clinical consultation services in the proposed 2022 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule but urged the CMS to clarify the codes before implementation. Read more

CAP Urges CMS to Create Equitable, Balanced System with No Surprises Act Regulations

The CAP called for strong regulations to prevent health plan manipulation in a September 7 letter to the CMS regarding a recent surprise billing interim final rule. The CAP further called on the CMS to ensure “that regulations must support an equitable and balanced system for resolving payment disputes…” Read more