Registry will aid pathologists in documenting, justifying services

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The College of American Pathologists has signed a contract with software vendor FIGmd to build a pathology registry, a database that will offer well-defined measures for pathologists to use when reporting to meet Medicare quality reporting requirements and quality-based reimbursements.

The organization selected FIGmd because of the work it has done setting up registries for other medical disciplines, such as cardiologists, dermatologists, emergency physicians, orthopedics, rheumatologists and ophthalmologists, says Richard Friedberg, MD, president of the College of American Pathologists.

Pathologists are scientists practicing the study of disease and making diagnoses by examining tissues, organs, body fluids and autopsies to assist physicians.

When a physician orders lab tests, the pathologist conducts the tests and transmits the results. But pathologists also are physicians in addition to being scientists, Friedberg says. And as physicians, they are subject to Medicare quality reporting programs such as the Quality Payment program and the Merit-Based Incentive System program.

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The registry is being paid by physician users whether they are members of the organization or not, although it will probably set member and non-member pricing. Either way, it would cost a lot more if physicians did not pay for a registry service because of reduced Medicare reimbursement absent a database of measures to justify services rendered, Friedberg explains. “It’s a natural for us to put this registry together.”

Consequently, the College of American Pathologists will pay for the registry to be built and charge member and non-member physicians to use it, although pricing tiers may be different for members and non-members. The registry will integrate with pathology information systems, hospital electronic health record systems and any other appropriate systems.

The pathology organization has developed a communications strategy to spread the word about the registry out to physicians via web seminars, newsletters and email, along with Friedberg and others speaking to groups. The organization’s government affairs office also is working with members to help them understand the regulatory reporting initiatives and how the registry can improve documentation and reimbursement.

The registry is on schedule to go live this fall, and Friedberg is confident the schedule will be met. “These guys have a good track record, and we’ve been working with them for some time.”

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