judy ed msgAt the time I’m writing, shared and growing frustration is felt by many in this country who have no health insurance coverage, people who have become excited and relieved by the prospect of coverage within their grasp (finally!)—and frustrated by IT failures blocking them from this prize.
       We’re all patients at one time or another, and even when our first thought is just getting in the doctor’s door, paying for her/his time (and all the itemizations) is on our minds, insurance or no.
       We necessarily concentrate on ourselves and our loved ones, on getting tested, getting answers.
       People whose medical bills are covered by Medicare may breathe easier.
       But let’s look at the same visit from the other side of the door, from the inside looking out.
       It would never occur to most patients that the place where their blood is collected or their biopsy is performed could be fingering the inside of its own “pocket” and wondering if it will be out of pocket for testing it’s performed. CMS has proposed cutting reimbursement for dozens of pathology services charged for patients outside a hospital setting, in varying percentages based on the tests themselves.
       The Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP) is forcefully advocating on behalf of pathologists and labs, urging the agency to reconsider undercutting the value of the testing and the cost of performing it.
       At the upcoming annual meeting in mid-November, AMP’s members will gather at the Phoenix Convention Center to share their knowledge on important topics, including reimbursement, which helps to optimize patient care.
       In The Graduate, the magic word was “plastics.” At AMP 2013, I see a couple of magic words: “reimbursement” and “next-gen sequencing.”

On a more personal note…
       When you set about work, on some days you may think about who you work for: a physician, a hospital, an outpatient clinic … in a lab of some kind. And, of course, you think about your patients.
       Well, you don’t sign my paychecks, but every day, I’ve felt that I worked for you.
It can’t be said that every career or job touches the lives of most people, but yours does. People’s lives, their futures pass through your hands.
       I’ve enjoyed meeting many of you, and will always have the greatest respect for all who work in your profession.
       I have enjoyed my tenure as Chief Editor of CLP. I’m leaving, moving on to pursue new challenges.
       My best to all of you, in your careers and in your lives.

Thank you,

Judy O’Rourke
Chief Editor, CLP