Legislation to protect patients from inflated medical bills for pathology services has unanimously passed the Virginia legislature with the support of the CAP and the Virginia Society of Pathologists.

Under the legislation (HB 893), Virginia patients would be protected from higher medical bills for any form of biopsy or Pap smear tests. Without the legislation, a physician who ordered these services could increase the cost of the service when an outside laboratory or pathologist performs it.

The CAP supports Virginia’s anti-markup bill, in addition to direct billing for anatomic pathology services. Optimally, the CAP believes payment for anatomic and clinical pathology services should be made only to the person or entity that performed or supervised the service, except for referrals between laboratories independent of a physician’s office.

AMA ethics policies expressly condemn markup business practices, but until the new law is enacted there is no legal prohibition in the state.

With enactment, Virginia will become the 25th state to expressly outlaw such markup billing practices either through direct billing or anti-markup laws. Gov. Terry R. McAuliffe has not signed the measure at this article’s deadline, but he is expected to sign it into law. The legislation was sponsored in the legislature by Rep. Christopher P. Stolle (R) of Virginia Beach and Norfolk.