[Histonet] Aetna and In-Office Lab Accreditation

Pratt, Caroline Caroline.Pratt <@t> uphs.upenn.edu
Mon Apr 9 14:09:21 CDT 2012


-----Original Message-----
From: histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
[mailto:histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu] On Behalf Of
jdcochran <@t> aol.com
Sent: Monday, April 09, 2012 1:53 PM
To: histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
Subject: [Histonet] Aetna and In-Office Lab Accreditation


I was informed today by The Joint Commission that an oversight was made
in the original letter from Aetna regarding a new requirement for
in-office AP lab accreditation.  
Aetna's Medical Director states in a letter to The Joint Commission: "It
can be CAP or JCAHO certification of their laboratory.  We want to
encourage providers to obtain 
either one of these accreditations. We will be updating the physician
letter with this change..."  To my knowledge, TJC and CAP are the only
CMS-deemed authorities for 
Anatomic Pathology lab accreditation since a third accreditation
organization has exited that arena.  

In-office AP labs provide a valuable service to the practices they serve
by facilitating 1) better communication between pathologists and
ordering clinicians, 2) quality metrics that are practice-specific, and
3) high volume, sub-specialization for both histotechnologists and
pathologists.  In other words, the more of one type of histopathology a
lab does (e.g., skin, prostate, GI), the better it gets.  Most people
would not think of having their cardiac bypass surgery done at a
community hospital doing 50/year; you want to go where more than
500/year are done.  In histopathology, the kinds of volume you want are
in the thousands for each tissue type.  Many hospital labs do little
skin or prostate histology anymore.  Many sub-specialty in-office AP
labs may do thousands of cases of one tissue type every year.  

Aside from that, in-office AP labs are an emerging frontier of
employment for histologists and pathologists.  In an era of high
unemployment, another source of employment for our professions is "a
good thing."

This requirement by an insurer for accreditation will help to validate
these in-office AP labs' commitment to quality and put them on the level
with their hospital counterparts.

John D. Cochran, MD, FCAP

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