In an April 13 resolution affirmed by 44 state pathology societies, pathologists nationwide called for New York State to repeal the regulation that prohibits pathologists from conferring with patients on laboratory and pathology test results.
"Pathologists in every other state in the United States are able to fully exercise our medical discretion in answering patient questions, without the dictate or constraint of state regulation, and conferring with patients based upon our medical judgment as physicians," the RESOLUTION STATED. "The New York regulation represents an unwarranted and deleterious intrusion into the physician practice of medicine by pathologists to the detriment of quality, patient care, and patient empowerment in understanding their diagnosis."
The CAP and New York State Society of Pathologists (NYSSPATH) have strongly advocated for the NYS Department of Health (DOH) to remove the outdated prohibition on discussions between patients and pathologists. Regulatory impediments to patient discussions with pathologists should be removed as pathologists are legally and ethically obligated to communicate with their patients, the CAP and NYSSPATH have said.
The DOH is meeting with stakeholders to decide whether to take any action to repeal or change the regulation. The NY Public Health Planning Council, following testimony by pathologists, set a deadline of July 2016 for the DOH to make a determination.
The state DOH has been conducting calls with external stakeholders to determine their respective positions on the issue. A DOH stakeholder call in February included Emily Volk, MD, FCAP, chair of the CAP Council on Government and Professional Affairs (CGPA), and Patrick Godbey, MD, FCAP, vice chair of the CGPA.
Recently, six national pathology organizations and the New York chapters of the AARP and the American College of Radiology (ACR) also have urged the DOH to repeal the prohibition.