Dear MSP members and colleagues,
No doubt, we are facing unprecedented times. Michigan ranks #3 nationally in the number of positive COVID cases, a staggering 17,221 as of Monday, April 6th. The situation is expected to get worse with peak in the next 2 weeks, before it starts slowing down. Please keep thoughts and prayers for families affected in your minds.
We, unfortunately, had to cancel our Spring MSP conference highlighting Endocrine Pathology. I promise that we will have yet another wonderful conference in December 2020. MSP had been lobbying for Out of network billing issue at Lansing, which is on hold until the pandemic is over.
I would like to take this opportunity to highlight few things that CAP has been able to achieve for us during this pandemic period (Please refer to Covid guidance at https://www.cap.org/news/2020/latest-on-the-novel-coronavirus-covid-19):
1. Digital Pathology can be used for primary sign outs. CMS has provided a temporary waiver upon CAP’s request which will allow pathologists to sign out cases remotely from home.
2. If you work in a CAP accredited laboratory and are using EUA assays, please follow CAP guidelines and also include this on your CAP activity menu (nCoV 2019, amplify OR nCoV 2019 antibodies). QC must be performed each day of patient testing.
3. All COVID-19 testing will be covered, under the Families First response act and the CARES act. CAP has urged the Medicare program to use the new CPT code, 87635, to price laboratory tests for COVID-19.
3. CMS has agreed to give pathologists and other physicians more time to complete their MIPS submission by April 30. In addition, if pathologists are unable to submit their 2019 data by April 30, they will not be penalized but will instead receive a neutral payment adjustment.
4. CMS has informed that all mandatory CLIA inspections are suspended for 3 weeks.
5. CMS also has provided guidance that allows drive thru point of care testing for patients. The guidance also allows exceptions for laboratories operating in contiguous buildings to include parking lots.
6. CAP is currently assessing the impact of delaying Proficiency Testing, in discussions with CDC and AHPL.
7. Please refer to CAP and CDC guidelines for handling of autopsies, and cytology specimens.
As our surgical and cytology volumes have gone down, many of us find ourselves wondering about possible ways to keep ourselves busy. Here are few ideas:
· There are many online CME courses to consider. Both CAP and USCAP have provided free courses. CAP is offering free courses through the month of April, while USCAP has free interactive microscopy sessions.
· Residents and fellows should take advantage of free virtual lecture series every weekday at 10 am in April offered by CAP.
· You may also want to work on all those QAs and QCs that have been pending on your desk.
· Streamline staff workflows in all your sections.
· Work on procedures and policies for your department, even those that are associated with OR staff.
· Consider volunteering at your hospital where there is a need.
Stay safe, and stay healthy!
Vaishali Pansare, MD
On behalf of the MSP Board