The CAP was invited by Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL), co-chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Health Braintrust, to discuss the CAP's top priorities for reducing health equity and disparities in advance of the 118th Congress.
The Health Braintrust is the CBC’s principal health care advisory task force, and this invitation is a direct result of the work the CAP has been doing to advance equity and reduce disparities at the federal level.
At the meeting, President Emily E. Volk, MD, FCAP, reaffirmed that commitment:
"By advocating for policies that reduce disparities, we are creating an equitable system for both patients and physicians. For physicians to be successful, we must have the right health care policy infrastructure in place to take care of patients. Pathologists are in a unique position to make advancements in this area as we make many of the diagnoses that inform how patients are treated."
This commitment to equity is reflected in the new policies developed by the Council on Government and Professional Affairs and approved by the CAP Board of Governors. For example:
- The use of race-based kidney function estimating equations have contributed to racial disparities in kidney disease. The CAP has worked with laboratories across the United States to incorporate non-race-based reference values in testing protocols for kidney disease.
- The CAP is also reviewing reference ranges for transgender individuals and assessing the use of the appropriate algorithm for cystic fibrosis testing in newborns.
- States currently have the option to provide Medicaid coverage for testing and related services to individuals who are uninsured and otherwise ineligible for Medicaid. This option, developed for the COVID-19 public health emergency, expires next month. The CAP urges Congress to consider making the option permanent and expand testing criteria to a broader range of communicable diseases.
- The CAP has sought federal legislative opportunities, such as The Caring for Social Determinants Act (HR 1066), to address the impact of social determinants on patient health and access to health care.
- The CAP Foundation provides the See, Test & Treat® program as a free cancer screening and health education program for medically underserved populations. See, Test & Treat annually addresses social determinants of health by reducing barriers to care with same-day cervical and breast screening results. Programs eliminate the need for multiple trips to undergo testing and receive results and provide free transportation, interpreter services, and free children’s activities to attending patients. See, Test & Treat is made possible through the continued generous support of CAP member pathologists, staff, foundations, industry, and private donations