ePolicy News November 2018

Oct 31, 2018
Read the latest ASCP policy news from Washington, DC.









ASCP Launches Its Inaugural Job Satisfaction, Well-Being, and Burnout Survey

Medical laboratory professionals (pathologists, laboratory professionals, and pathology residents) are critical members of the healthcare team. Their work impacts almost all aspects of patient care, from diagnosis to prevention and primary care. They also play a vital role in improving patient outcomes, effective test utilization, ensuring laboratory quality and public health. Recently, there has been a significant increase in research on job satisfaction, well-being, and burnout in the healthcare sector. At present, however, data and research on these topics have mainly focused on physicians and nurses. Very little research has focused on non-physician laboratory professionals, and most of the existing research is dated and limited in scope.

As a result, ASCP is launching its inaugural job satisfaction survey to examine the needs and concerns of laboratory personnel and to help advance laboratory medicine and improve patient care through knowledge, collaboration, and global community. This survey will seek information about factors that may influence job satisfaction and burnout, including organizational climate, workload, job stress, work-life balance, and immigration concerns. The purpose is to help inform ASCP’s initiatives to promote well-being among medical laboratory personnel and help prevent burnout. We encourage everyone in the field of pathology and laboratory medicine to participate in this important survey.

If you have any questions regarding the survey, please contact Edna Garcia, MPH, Director, Scientific Engagement and Research, at the ASCP Institute of Science, Technology and Policy in Washington, D.C., at edna.garcia@ascp.org or (202) 735-2283.


ACLA Pushes Forward with Appeal of Its HHS Lawsuit

On Oct. 19, the American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA) filed an appeal of its lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) challenging its implementation of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA), which requires HHS to establish a “market-based” data collection process for pricing the Medicare Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule (CLFS).

In a statement, ACLA President Julie Khani said, “HHS’s continued assertion that collecting data from less than one percent of laboratories nationwide meets the standards for a representative, market-based system is indefensible. HHS’s failure to collect data from more than 99 percent of laboratories undermines Congress’s goal of ensuring patients benefit from a market-based system for critical laboratory services…HHS’s misguided and flawed data collection process continues to threaten access to lifesaving lab services and, ultimately, the health outcomes of millions of seniors across the country—a reality that is clear for those serving on the front lines of our healthcare system and one that will have increasing ramifications for beneficiaries if not addressed.”

Earlier, the District Court ruled on narrow procedural grounds that it lacked jurisdiction to review the case, despite acknowledging that ACLA’s “arguments on the merits raise important questions” about HHS’s actions. Because of the economic and patient access threats posed by PAMA, ASCP strongly supports the ACLA lawsuit against CMS, as well as congressional reform and modernization of the CLFS.


Trump Signs Bipartisan Opioid Bill

President Donald Trump has signed into law a 660-page bipartisan bill to address the growing opioid crisis. The legislation, HR 6, will expand access to addiction treatment by allowing more providers to prescribe buprenorphine and speed up research on alternative drugs. It will also let states lift Medicaid limitations on payments for inpatient substance abuse treatment. The bill provides $6 billion in funding to help fight opioids and also encourages doctors to do more to detect patients at risk of prescription opioid misuse and bolsters efforts to prevent illicit drug shipments. In addition, the measure includes provisions to improve coordination between public health laboratories and laboratories operated by law enforcement to improve detection of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.


ASCP Awarded $2.1 Million MACRA Grant

ASCP was recently awarded a $2.1 million grant by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to develop pathology-related quality measures that will be incorporated into ASCP’s National Pathology Quality Registry (NPQR) for CMS’ Quality Payment Program (QPP). ASCP is among seven awardees – and the only pathology or laboratory medicine organization – to receive cooperative agreement awards through the “Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) Funding Opportunity: Measure Development for the Quality Payment Program.” ASCP’s NPQR was granted Qualified Clinical Data Registry (QCDR) status for 2018 by CMS to improve patient outcomes by helping laboratories assess and optimize their quality and performance. NPQR captures data that measure adherence to clinical practice guideline recommendations, quality and performance standards, and laboratory testing stewardship. For more on the grant and ASCP’s NPQR, visit www.ascp.org/NPQR.


Lymphoma Comment Period Closes

Oct. 24 marked the closure of an open comment period to develop a new evidence-based guideline, titled “Requirements for Laboratory Workup of Lymphoma.” Draft recommendations developed though the combined efforts of ASCP, the College of American Pathologists (CAP), and the American Society of Hematology (ASH) were posted on Sept. 24 for review. Based on a systematic review of more than 6,000 peer-reviewed titles, the guideline seeks to answer the overarching clinical question, “What are the specimen requirements for accurate diagnosis for patients in whom lymphoma is being considered?” All stakeholders—including pathologists, pathologists’ assistants, hematologists/oncologists, clinicians, laboratory personnel, quality managers in laboratories, hospitals or health systems, vendors, patient advocacy group representatives, and patients were targeted through the use of multiple media outlets to allow for feedback on the draft recommendations to ensure they are clinically sound, practical, and can be implemented.

The co-chairs and expert panel will review all comments to finalize the recommendations, along with the additional evidence from a literature search, to refine the final manuscript for publication in 2019. ASCP thanks the organizational leadership for this endeavor, including Steven H. Kroft, MD, MASCP, ASCP Co-chair; Cordelia E. Sever, MD, CAP Co-chair; and Matthew Cheung, MD, ASH Co-chair.

 


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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