In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the College of American Pathologists (CAP) has suspended most U.S. facility accreditation inspections for at least three weeks and postponed international inspections until June 1 at the earliest.
The U.S. suspension was approved by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and took effect March 17. It applies to all inspections aside from immediate jeopardy complaint visits and follow-ups, CAP explained to members.
"This will be evaluated on an ongoing basis and could potentially be extended depending on how the situation evolves," CAP said.
Labs will retain their CAP accreditation during the suspension period and should continue their proficiency testing activities and compliance with quality requirements in checklists, CAP advised.
CAP had also asked CMS to give permission temporarily to pathologists for remote sign-out of pathology interpretations and for other staff to conduct data reviews remotely; however, the agency has not approved this request.
CAP has not yet decided to cancel meetings, including its Pathologists Leadership Summit, which is set to be held May 2-5 in Washington, DC. Many upcoming medical meetings have been canceled due to the public health crisis, including gatherings of the American College of Cardiology (ACC), the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), along with the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI).