The House approved the bill, the Proficiency Testing Improvement Act of 2005 (H.R. 4568), by voice vote and sent it to the U.S. Senate, which must pass the bill before it can become law. Congress is set to adjourn within days and final action might not occur until after Jan. 1, when strict enforcment of the PT program is scheduled to begin. Laboratories are advised to adhere to the PT requirements of the current regulation and look to the College for further updates as this bill progresses through Congress.

The Proficiency Testing Improvement Act, introduced Nov. 9 by Rep. Nathan Deal, R-Ga?., chair of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, would suspend cytology proficiency testing for one year, beginning on the date of its enactment. During that suspension, the Secretary of Health and Human Services would be required to make revisions to the program, including that it:

  • reflect the "collaborative clinical decision-making of laboratory personnel" who perform gynecologic cytology;
  • institute "grading or scoring criteria to reflect current practice guidelines";
  • require testing no more often than every two years;
  • and make other revisions "as may be necessary to reflect changes in laboratory operations and practices since such standards were promulgated in 1992."

Key House members spoke in favor of H.R. 4568 during floor action Saturday, including Deal and original co-sponsor Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga?. Read the text of their remarks here(external link).

The College followed up that initiative with the congressional letter signing campaign and an intensive grassroots effort that called on CAP pathologists to urge their House members to sign the congressional letter and, later, to support the Proficiency Testing Improvement Act. CAP members responded with hundreds of calls and letters to Capitol Hill, and laboratory tours and meetings with key lawmakers in their home districts.

Visit the CAP Web site(external link) for additional news and information.

© 2005, College of American Pathologists
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