ePolicy News June 2018

May 29, 2018
Read the latest ASCP policy news from Washington, DC.

ASCP, BOC Help Kill Anti-Certification Legislation

ASCP and the ASCP Board of Certification (BOC) scored an important advocacy win by forcing changes to a bill that would have undermined certification in state licensure. The Louisiana House of Representatives had approved legislation that would have barred the state “from relying on certification as a prerequisite for professional licensure unless there is empirical evidence of systemic harm to consumers from the absence of a certification requirement.” The bill would also have prohibited the use of the term "certified" in professional titles.

In a letter to Louisiana senators, the ASCP and BOC wrote that HB 748 “would dis-incentivize healthcare professionals, such as medical laboratory scientists and medical laboratory technicians, from making the career investments necessary for optimum patient care. This would undermine the ability of clinical laboratories throughout the state to hire and retain the best and brightest laboratory workforce.” ASCP and the BOC were also concerned that it was unlikely that many health professionals’ certifications, including board certification for physicians, could meet the bill’s evidentiary requirements. Per requests from ASCP and the BOC, the legislation was amended to drop the provisions harmful to certification.

CMS Launches New Tool to Check 2018 MIPS Eligibility

Pathologists may now log into CMS’s Quality Payment Program (QPP) website to check their 2018 Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) eligibility. Previously, CMS issued letters to pathologists informing them of their MIPS eligibility. However, these letters will not be sent this year, making the look-up tool the sole method of checking for eligibility. As the eligibility rules for 2018 are different than in 2017, pathologists are encouraged to log into the QPP website to verify their eligibility status for this year.

Pathologists who are eligible to participate in MIPS can satisfy 2018 MIPS requirements through ASCP’S National Pathology Quality Registry (NPQR). NPQR is the first pathology-specific, institution-based registry, and was granted Qualified Clinical Data Registry (QCDR) status earlier this year. In addition to our institutional offering for NPQR, individual pathologists and small practices will also be able to take advantage of ASCP’s MIPS fulfillment option. Watch for more details coming soon.You can learn more about NPQR by visiting our website.

HRSA Announces 2018 Faculty Loan Repayment Program

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) just announced its 2018 Faculty Loan Repayment Program, and it is accepting applications through June 28. The Faculty Loan Repayment Program provides individuals who have an interest in eligible health profession careers, such as medical laboratory science, with financial support to help pay off outstanding educational loans by serving as faculty members at accredited and eligible health professions schools.

Applicants must obtain all qualifying educational loans prior to the application deadline of June 28, 2018. ASCP encourages interested individuals to apply as soon as possible. To be eligible, all applicants must: (1) come from a disadvantaged background, based on environmental and/or economic factors, (2) have an eligible health professions degree or certificate, and (3) have an employment commitment as a faculty member at an approved health professions institution for a minimum of two years. HRSA will be hosting a Faculty Loan Repayment Program Technical Assistance Call on Thursday, June 7 from 3-4:30 p.m. ET. Dial-in: 1-888-889-4957 Passcode: 9769247. Apply Here.

ASCP Endorses Medical Examiner Bill in California

ASCP has endorsed legislation introduced in California to require its counties to establish an independent Medical Examiner’s office. Most of California’s counties utilize the Sheriff-Coroner model, which allows non-medically trained elected law enforcement officials to serve in the role of coroner. Recently, several newspapers have reported on one or more cases of alleged interference by Sheriff’s offices in autopsies/investigations, which has prompted several forensic pathologists to resign. The legislation, SB 1303, by Senator Richard Pan, MD, would require county offices of the coroner or the sheriff’s coroner’s office, as applicable, to be replaced with an office of the medical examiner to exercise the powers and perform the duties of the coroner without a public vote or election. This measure would require that the medical examiner be appointed by the county board of supervisors or executive officer. A copy of ASCP’s letter of support can be accessed here.

Health Affairs Hosts Precision Medicine Briefing

On May 8, ASCP attended a recent briefing on Precision Medicine by the journal, Health Affairs. The event featured panelists who presented their research in precision medicine on topics including: the role of precision medicine in reducing hospitalizations for cystic fibrosis patients; the rapid growth of genetic testing; the lack of diversity in genomic databases; and the FDA’s development and review of precision medicines versus non-precision medicines.

Pathologists and laboratory professionals have been leaders in precision medicine, and their roles will continue to grow and expand as new technologies continue to emerge. Several panelists at the Health Affairs event spoke about the impact of precision medicine in cancer treatment and leveraging successes and lessons learned to tackle chronic diseases including diabetes, end-stage renal disease (ESRD), and hypertension. An archived recording of the briefing can be viewed here.

For more information regarding ASCP's advocacy initiatives and policy positions, please contact ASCP's Center for Public Policy at (202-408-1110).

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