Association for Molecular Pathology                       
February 2009, Volume 15, Number 1

Inside this Issue

Front Page
President's Message
Special Features
• Message from the Past President
AMP Test Directory
The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics
• Web Editorial Board Report
• 2008 Annual Meeting Photo
Committee Reports
• Clinical Practice Committee
• Economic Affairs Committee
• Membership & Professional   
  Development Committee
• Nominating Committee
• Professional Relations
• Program Committee
• Publications Committee
• Strategic Planning Committee
• Training & Education Committee
Subdivision Reports
• Genetics
• Hematopathology
• Infectious Diseases
• Solid Tumors
2009 AMP Officers and Appointees

Economic Affairs Committee Report
(Formerly the CPT Committee)

Jan A. Nowak, MD, PhD Jan A. Nowak, MD, PhD
President and Chair, CPT Committee


Late last year AMP Council accepted a proposal from the Strategic Planning Committee to establish the CPT Committee as a standing committee of AMP. The CPT Committee recommends that the new standing committee be called the “Economic Affairs Committee” recognizing the breadth of its anticipated responsibilities “to address, advise, and educate the AMP membership, payers, legislators, and the public on economic issues of importance to the field of molecular pathology…”   Official institution as a new standing committee demands a change to the AMP  By-Laws and the proposal will be on the ballot in 2009.

The CPT code proposal for establishing new codes for microorganism identification by DNA sequence based methods that was developed by our Committee Working Group, chaired by Aaron Bossler, was reviewed by the Pathology Coding Caucus (PCC) last September.  The PCC made several recommendations to improve the proposal, and asked for resubmission.  The revised Code Change Proposal, co-sponsored by AMP and ASM (American Society of Microbiology), is slated for review by the PCC in early 2009.

The Committee convened for a full day meeting in October in Rosemont, Illinois to establish the ground rules for designing a revised CPT coding model for molecular tests. After a wide ranging discussion of the necessary characteristics of any coding system, the Committee drew up preliminary plans for mechanisms that could take into account the various technologies essential to molecular testing, costs, time efficiencies, interpretive efforts, and the increasing need for higher level integrative functions related to increasingly complex molecular testing.  The functional result will need to be a finite number of defined CPT codes that offer not only recognition of procedural and professional effort, but include sufficient information for payer classification and reimbursement.  Work on the details of the model is continued at a second meeting at the end of January.

Following up on inquiries received at the Annual Meeting and after, the Committee determined that AMP should establish a regular avenue for providing knowledgeable advice and information to its members, medical directors, and other professionals. In 2009 the Committee will begin offering coding advice and information in this Newsletter, and exploring the possibility of archiving such information on the AMP website.

Last August, the Committee developed a response to a CMS proposal to establish a National Coverage Determination (NCD) for Pharmacogenomic testing related to Warfarin dosing.  In response to the comments received, CMS has scheduled a meeting in late February to focus on the requirements for evidence in evaluating the benefits of genomic testing.  The Committee, along with the Professional Relations and Clinical Practice Committees, will be monitoring this issue and will respond as appropriate.