Not being a CAP member has never crossed my mind. I became a junior member during residency and always saw the value in being a CAP member. However, at a recent meeting, a friend asked me, “Aren't you in private practice? Isn't the CAP only for academic pathologists? What could it really be doing for you?” I’ll admit the question shocked me. My immediate thought was: “How can you not be a member of the CAP, especially as a private practice pathologist?!” To me, the CAP is the number one organization for private practice pathologists. Let me share some of the ways I feel the CAP stands strong with those of us on the non-academic track.
1. The CAP Actively Supports Private Business
Some of the best resources available to those running a pathology department, be it in a community or academic setting, resides in Practice Management. The CAP has resources and tools to help you manage your practice from a variety of perspectives. Need to conduct a market assessment? There is a resource for that. Need to analyze your billing to evaluate for areas of losses or noncompliance? There is a resource for that. The Practice Management Committee also hosts periodic live events to help members gain firsthand knowledge on how to analyze the inner workings of their practices. If you have a question that cannot be answered with a click of a mouse, there is a forum to connect with a lab management professional to get answers specific to your issue.
2. The CAP Keeps you Positioned at the Front of Multidisciplinary Patient Care Teams
The CAP partners with other medical societies such as ASCO and AMP to distribute knowledge and information that helps us provide the best care to our patients. As the front line practicing pathologists, we are one of the groups of stakeholders with sought-after perspectives on need, feasibility, and local practice variations. Practice guidelines such as the recent HPV testing in oropharyngeal carcinoma, the ASCO/CAP HER2/neu focused update, and the new CAP/ASH AML testing guidelines were developed with open comment periods to solicit input from all stakeholders. This includes private practice pathologists, whose perspectives are taken into account to understand differences in location practice variation and local needs. Ultimately, these guidelines help us protect and advocate for our patients. They allow us to aid in the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment decisions we encounter each day during sign out and as part of the larger health care team.
3. The CAP Assists in Driving Legislation Important to Pathologists
Through its work at the state and federal levels, the CAP aims to influence legislation and regulation that supports pathologists’ efforts to provide quality patient care. Members of the CAP engage with elected officials through a grassroots advocacy network called PathNET, as well as the political action committee PathPAC. The CAP is the only organization representing pathologists that has a political action committee focused on supporting candidates for federal office who understand the value of pathology and advance key health care policies concerning pathologists and our patients. I encourage you to attend the CAP’s annual Policy Meeting, which is another benefit of CAP membership. The Policy Meeting allows you to network with pathologists around the country and meet with the offices of your representatives in Congress. Everyone who attends makes a difference. Your support of the CAP allows the CAP to support you.
4. The CAP Provides Quality Education
Education is not only for our academic counterparts. I am sure we all strive to be at the top of our game. The CAP helps us reach that goal with great annual meetings, live events, and online courses that include a range of activities from the cutting edge to the daily pearls that make sign outs more efficient and more accurate. One of the aspects I love the most about CAP annual meetings is that the person sitting next to me could be a sole pathologist at a small hospital or doing research 50% of the time at a large institution, but we are all able to get the knowledge that informs and elevates our practices.
I hope that I have convinced some of you that the CAP is for the private practice pathologist. In truth, the CAP is for all pathologists. These are some of my favorite reasons that the CAP is for the private practice pathologist. If you need more, please check the Member Benefits page.