Proposed Rule Eases Cytology PT Requirements
Approximately 12,500 pathologists and cytotechnologists in the United States who screen and interpret Papanicolaou (Pap) tests to identify cervical cancers may soon be affected by a rule that alters their current requirements for cytology proficiency testing (PT).
Proposed changes made by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) for cytology PT include increasing the number of slides or other approved media in the first test and first retest from 10 to 20, and the time for completing the screening from two hours to four hours. The currently required passing score of 90 percent would remain, but with the increase in challenges, each error would count less. Test takers would also be allowed to miss up to two high-grade lesions or cancers and still pass. Under current rules, missing even one high-grade lesion or cancer is grounds for automatic failure. The proposed rule would also lessen the frequency requirement for PT testing from annually to biennially.
To ensure testing quality, the proposed rule includes a provision that requires providers to explain their appeals process prior to administering a test and impose more stringent obligations on PT programs.
You have until March 17 to comment on this proposed rule. More information about cytology PT and a link to the Medicare, Medicaid, and CLIA of 1988 Program; Cytology PT proposed rule are available on the CLIA main page of the CMS Web site.