The College of American Pathologists (CAP) detailed its priorities on combating the covid-19 pandemic following the release of the White House’s National Strategy for the Covid-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness. As pathologists are the experts on medical diagnoses, the CAP welcomed the strategy’s goals to provide greater patient access to covid-19 testing. 

In a letter responding to the strategy on January 27, the CAP discussed issues throughout the testing process, in addition to problems with obtaining testing supplies, continued access to services, and the financial implications of the pandemic on laboratories. The CAP also commented on the new administration’s public health efforts, healthcare disparities, and global health security. Further, the CAP welcomes opportunities to engage with administrative officials to inform health care policy decisions in the weeks ahead.

“As pathologists are the experts on medical diagnoses, pathologists share your desire to provide greater access to covid-19 testing and we must also be part of the public policy decision-making process,” said CAP President Patrick Godbey, MD, FCAP. “Specifically, our expertise can help address needed covid-19 coverage and testing improvements, supply chain issues, required regulatory action, and the economics of laboratory medicine that ensure continued access to necessary services. For questions about the testing process, the College of American Pathologists can help provide the answers. Together, we will effectively combat this pandemic.”

On covid-19 testing and supply shortages, the CAP welcomed the Biden administration’s plans to improve the supply chain. The CAP further encouraged the federal government to improve transparency, coordination, and management of testing supplies that laboratories need.

The CAP also requested that the government cover multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) respiratory viral panel (RVP) tests. Many respiratory pathogens present similarly in patients and it is difficult to differentiate between influenza, coronavirus, rhinoviruses, and many other pathogens without accurate testing. Ensuring rapid results with uniform coverage policies is essential to triaging patients and minimizing disease transmission.

Regarding efforts to address health care disparities, the CAP appreciated the establishment of the Covid-19 Racial and Ethnic Disparities Task Force and looks forward to the administration’s plans that target vulnerable communities and seek to ensure equal access to testing.

For more information, visit the College of American Pathologists