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AFIP Closes, Opens, Closes, Opens. Are You Following This?

Posted Aug 27 2009 11:18pm

The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) has always been a key resource in in the world of the pathologist and may continue in this role. Ole Eichhorn, who blogs over at The Daily Scan, provides an update on the status of this institution that may, or may not, be closing as a result of budgetary cutbacks in the Army. Below is his note (see: Pathology Institute Defends Its Turf ):

The other day I noted the formation of AFIP Labs as a "replacement" for the AFIP's lab services.  So it turns out reports of the death of the AFIP were greatly exaggerated [as] the Washington Post notes [in as recent article]: Pathology Institute Defends Its Turf.

Despite the institute's renown, the Pentagon announced plans four years ago to shut it down as part of the closure of Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 2011 because of the federal base-closing program.A private company revealed plans this month to fill the "critical void" left by the institute's closing.   A news release Aug. 7 announced the formation of "AFIP Laboratories," made up of staff from "the soon-to-be-closed Armed Forces Institute of Pathology."Company officials say they are hiring more than two dozen civilian pathologists from the institute....Last Monday, the private company, a division of Bostwick Laboratories, received a letter from the Defense Department requesting that it cease using the AFIP name.  On Thursday, the company agreed, changing its name to "AIP Laboratories."In addition, the military institute placed a scrolling notice on its Web site last week denying that the institute will be closing soon and will not be taking new cases.

Wow, interesting.  AFIP vs AIPL, old vs new.  Stay tuned for more!

Here's the latest news directly from the AFIP web site (see: AFIP REMAINS OPEN FOR BUSINESS - NOTICE TO CONTRIBUTORS ) dated 26 August 2009:

The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, AFIP, is open for business and absolutely will continue to receive and process pathology consultation cases in our AFIP laboratories....Unfortunately, it has come to the attention of the AFIP that some contributors are confused and under the false impression that the AFIP will no longer be accepting cases for consultation after August 2009 or that the AFIP has already transitioned into another organization. This is not the case - the AFIP has not closed....[T]he Department of Defense is in the process of establishing an organization called the Joint Pathology Center (JPC) which will succeed the AFIP when the AFIP is disestablished in accordance with the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process in September 2011. The JPC, in accordance with Section 722 of Public Law 110-181, will function as the reference center in pathology for the Federal Government and will, at a minimum, provide pathology services to the military healthcare system, Department of Veterans Affairs, and other federal agencies.... There should be no decrement in pathology consultative services as the AFIP transitions to the JPC by 2011. We will keep you updated on this process over the next several years.

Both the style and vocabulary or Army memos are unmistakable. This one is a classic example and you should now be well briefed. The AFIP is open for business and has not transitioned into another organization. However, under the BRAC process, it will be disestablished and be succeeded by the JPC. There will be no decrement in service during the transition that will take about two years. Stay tuned during the next three years for additional information and don't even think about calling your local militia the U.S. Army.

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