The College of American Pathologists (CAP) is the leading private, non-profit professional organization of board-certified pathologists. It is also an accrediting organization for laboratory quality assurance.
As a professional organization, CAP provides networking opportunities and pathology learning programs for its 18,000 pathologists. To maintain membership, pathologists must pay an annual renewal fee.
As an accrediting organization, CAP provides accreditation checklists, peer inspections, and proficiency testing to ensure laboratories meet regulatory requirements and provide quality patient health care. Accreditation checklists allow professionals to provide evidence of compliance throughout the laboratory departments. An inspection involves examining every department, checking personnel documentation, and reviewing mandatory laboratory policies and procedures. CAP currently inspects and accredits medical laboratories under authority from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
Proficiency testing is provided through CAP's laboratory quality solutions programs. CAP sends specimens to the laboratory, which then performs the tests and reports the results. If the results are within CAP's expected ranges, then the laboratory has passed the proficiency test.
To maintain accreditation, laboratories must complete annual compliance checklists, pass peer inspections, and pass proficiency tests. Accreditation allows the laboratory to continue performing tests and provide patients with quality health care.