To participate successfully in a cytology proficiency testing program for gynecologic examinations (Pap smears), the laboratory must meet the requirements of paragraphs (a) through (c) of this section.
(a) The laboratory must ensure that each individual engaged in the examination of gynecologic preparations is enrolled in a proficiency testing program approved by CMS by January 1, 1995, if available in the State in which he or she is employed. The laboratory must ensure that each individual is tested at least once per year and obtains a passing score. To ensure this annual testing of individuals, an announced or unannounced testing event will be conducted on-site in each laboratory at least once each year. Laboratories will be notified of the time of each announced on-site testing event at least 30 days prior to each event. Additional testing events will be conducted as necessary in each State or region for the purpose of testing individuals who miss the on-site testing event and for retesting individuals as described in paragraph (b) of this section.
(b) The laboratory must ensure that each individual participates in an annual testing event that involves the examination of a 10-slide test set as described in § 493.945. Individuals who fail this testing event are retested with another 10-slide test set as described in paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this section. Individuals who fail this second test are subsequently retested with a 20-slide test set as described in paragraphs (b)(2) and (b)(3) of this section. Individuals are given not more than 2 hours to complete a 10-slide test and not more than 4 hours to complete a 20-slide test. Unexcused failure to appear by an individual for a retest will result in test failure with resulting remediation and limitations on slide examinations as specified in (b)(1), (b)(2), and (b)(3) of this section.
(1) An individual is determined to have failed the annual testing event if he or she scores less than 90 percent on a 10-slide test set. For an individual who fails an annual proficiency testing event, the laboratory must schedule a retesting event which must take place not more than 45 days after receipt of the notification of failure.
(2) An individual is determined to have failed the second testing event if he or she scores less than 90 percent on a 10-slide test set. For an individual who fails a second testing event, the laboratory must provide him or her with documented, remedial training and education in the area of failure, and must assure that all gynecologic slides evaluated subsequent to the notice of failure are reexamined until the individual is again retested with a 20-slide test set and scores at least 90 percent. Reexamination of slides must be documented.
(3) An individual is determined to have failed the third testing event if he or she scores less than 90 percent on a 20-slide test set. An individual who fails the third testing event must cease examining gynecologic slide preparations immediately upon notification of test failure and may not resume examining gynecologic slides until the laboratory assures that the individual obtains at least 35 hours of documented, formally structured, continuing education in diagnostic cytopathology that focuses on the examination of gynecologic preparations, and until he or she is retested with a 20-slide test set and scores at least 90 percent.
(c) If a laboratory fails to ensure that individuals are tested or those who fail a testing event are retested, or fails to take required remedial actions as described in paragraphs (b)(1), (b)(2) or (b)(3) of this section, CMS will initiate intermediate sanctions or limit the laboratory's certificate to exclude gynecologic cytology testing under CLIA, and, if applicable, suspend the laboratory's Medicare and Medicaid payments for gynecologic cytology testing in accordance with subpart R of this part.