Includes Roadmap for Improving Patient Care
Washington, D.C. (Vocus) June 10, 2009 -- The College of American Pathologists unveiled its Health Care Reform Agenda, citing key policy issues that will affect the delivery of pathology services today, and introducing new ways to improve patient care in the future.
The College's agenda addresses a number of health reform proposals currently under consideration in Congress. Lawmakers indicated their desire to move health care legislation on a fast track, drafting and passing legislation before the August recess.
"Health care reform is proceeding on a short timeline, and the College has taken a two-pronged approach to keep pace with it," said CAP president, Jared. N. Schwartz, MD, PhD, FCAP. "CAP's immediate priority is to ensure the uninterrupted delivery of pathology services to patients under the current system. Our longer effort will focus on making better use of the information and expertise available in the pathology lab as part of the coordinated care team."
Among the College's top priorities for the future will be to improve laboratory access to patients' electronic health records.
"Pathologists are experts in test selection and diagnosing disease. Once a patient's medical history and test information are in one place, clinicians will be able to tap into the pathologist's unique training to provide consultations on appropriate test selection and optimal therapy options," Schwartz said. "We believe this will significantly improve patient outcomes, and at the same time lower healthcare costs by reducing the number of laboratory tests ordered.
The College's more immediate priorities include working with Congress to close loopholes that exist on contractual joint ventures and in-office ancillary services; identifying ways to improve the current pay for performance initiative before it becomes the foundation for a value-based purchasing program for medical care; and fixing or replacing the Sustainable Growth Rate formula that, if unchecked, will cut all physician payments by over 21 percent in 2010.
"Our policy agenda is challenging and ambitious, as I believe it must be," Schwartz said. "Pathologists touch many peoples' lives. Whether we're analyzing a skin biopsy, performing complex bloodwork, or examining a woman's pap smear, for many patients pathologists are at the center of their care."
The College of American Pathologists is a medical society serving more than 17,000 physician members and the laboratory community throughout the world. It is the world's largest association composed exclusively of board certified pathologists and is widely considered the leader in laboratory quality assurance. The College is an advocate for high-quality and cost-effective medical care.
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