MSP Leadership Meets with Members of Congress to Mitigate Evaluation and Management (E/M) Cuts to Pathology
posted: May 4, 2021
On Tuesday, May 4, 2021, Missouri Society of Pathologists (MSP) President, Dr. Chakshu Gupta, immediate past President, Dr. Joseph Lombardo, Treasurer, Dr. Jeffrey Craver, and Secretary, Dr. Laura Gardner, represented pathologists in Missouri during a day-long virtual meeting with members of Congress. The meeting, organized by the College of American Pathologists (CAP), furthered joint efforts to find a solution to the proposed evaluation and management (E/M) cuts to pathology services. Previous success of these joint efforts can be seen in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, whereby temporary relief was provided to pathologists. MSP leadership asked Congress to consider a $3 billion appropriation for the purpose of offsetting further cuts to all specialty physicians and to work with CAP and other professional organizations on a more permanent fix. It is important Congress mitigate these cuts to ensure access to quality healthcare for all.
Pathologists are directly responsible for giving out diagnoses that physicians use to formulate treatment plans, such as for infections, allergies, and cancers. Additionally, they provide medical oversight to ensure blood tests are accurate and reliable. Independent experts estimate that pathology reports serve as a basis for 70% of all treatment decisions made by clinical doctors. A cut to E/M reimbursement would adversely affect every pathologist’s ability to practice medicine, especially those in rural and underserved communities where healthcare disparities are high. The effect will be seen in hospitals, where it will be even more difficult to find pathologists willing to provide coverage in rural areas, and in private groups, where practices will struggle to hire and retain qualified medical technologists. Hospitals, physician practices, and laboratories are facing a significant fallout from the covid pandemic — our costs have increased yet the reimbursement decreased.
MSP Leadership knows Congress cares deeply about increasing access to healthcare while reducing disparity in underserved and rural communities. The ability to keep laboratory testing local, which is the ideal way to provide healthcare, has become increasingly difficult. MSP encourages Congress to work with CAP and other professional organizations like MSP to ensure access to quality healthcare for all. MSP Leadership remains engaged and ready for continued partnership with CAP and others on mitigating the effects of E/M cuts.