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June 2016

Clampdowns on out-of-network billing climb

June 2016—To the average reader, “out-of-network billing” might seem like a technical concept that should mainly concern hyperaware insurance wonks. Media outlets from NBC News to Time to the Huffington Post have found that phrases like “surprise medical bill,” “angry patients,” and sometimes “sticker shock” in recent stories are much more likely to grab attention.

Glucose PT criteria reset stirs standards debate

June 2016—It may not be an exact science, but resetting standards is a long-established means of improving quality of testing, and it can also be a way of adapting to improvements in quality that have already been realized. In the case of the CAP’s recent tightening of proficiency testing criteria for hospital glucose testing, both purposes are at work.

Finding the fast track with ’14 HIV algorithm

June 2016—Laboratories that use the HIV testing algorithm the CDC recommended in 2014 report shorter turnaround times for those with detectable antibodies. And among state and local public health laboratories that responded to a 2015 survey, more than half report having implemented the algorithm.

All for one, one for all? Laboratory consolidation

June 2016—Consolidation among hospitals and laboratories can sometimes seem like too massive a tide for independent and hospital-based laboratories to effectively resist. What are the advantages that large size provides to a hospital system or national lab in a competitive marketplace? And will there be any space left in which smaller laboratories can survive?

From the President’s Desk: CAP16: All in one place, 6/16

June 2016—Even though I had a good idea of what would be in the CAP16 program, my heart raced when the final curriculum arrived. Perhaps because of my role as CAP president, I found myself taking a slightly different perspective than in the past and thinking about just how ambitious an undertaking it is. A program this complex involves serious choreography. Those who construct it must be thoughtful, forward-looking, and sensitive to many compelling needs and interests competing for limited time and space. It’s a big job.

In memoriam: Raymond C. Zastrow, MD | 1930–2016

June 2016—Raymond C. Zastrow, MD, the 24th president of the CAP, died April 28 at age 85 following complications of surgery. A member of the CAP Board of Governors from 1985 to 1988, Dr. Zastrow also served as CAP secretary-treasurer from 1988 to 1993, president-elect from 1993 to 1995, and president from 1995 to 1997. In 1998, the CAP recognized him as Pathologist of the Year.

More clarity over time for heart failure biomarkers

June 2016—Robert Christenson, PhD, a professor of pathology and of medical and research technology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, likens the U.S. mortality rate for myocardial infarction to three or four jumbo jets crashing daily. For heart failure, it’s about half that many deaths, “so maybe one and one-half jumbo jets,” Dr. Christenson said in a session on cardiac biomarkers at the CAP annual meeting last year.

On a quest for the eureka moment in Zika virus testing

June 2016—The Zika virus testing challenges facing laboratories are many, including the virus’ low and short-term viremia and its resemblance to other flaviviruses, especially dengue and chikungunya. “These viruses present extremely similarly, and it’s very difficult to tell them apart based on clinical characteristics alone,” said Benjamin Pinsky, MD, PhD, who presented the details of diagnostic tests for Zika in an Association for Molecular Pathology webinar in April.

Hemostasis testing guide now out in new edition

June 2016—The older we get, the faster time seems to pass. That’s why 2008 might not feel like all that long ago—until you consider that Obama had yet to take office, Donald Trump’s television appearances were limited largely to The Apprentice, and there was no “like” button on Facebook.

Antiphospholipid Antibodies

June 2016—CAP Press has released the second edition of its 2008 book, An Algorithmic Approach to Hemostasis Testing, edited by Kandice Kottke-Marchant, MD, PhD. She is chair of the Robert J. Tomsich Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Institute and section head of hemostasis and thrombosis, Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

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