On October 25, nearly 120 medical laboratory professionals from six organizations joined together in Alexandria, Virginia, and virtually for the 2021 Laboratory Legislative Symposium. Members from ASCLS, the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), Association of Genetic Technologists (AGT), American Medical Technologists (AMT), National Society for Histotechnology (NSH), and the Philippine Association of Medical Technologists-USA (PAMET-USA) learned about the legislative issues impacting medical laboratories and how to be labvocates and make their voices heard on Capitol Hill.

The day-long program included presentations, special guest speakers from Congress and the White House, and role playing how to meet with members of Congress. Here’s a taste of what attendees experienced through their posts on Twitter.

Clinical Laboratory Workforce

Jim Flanigan, ASCLS executive vice president, and Sharon Kneebone, National Society for Histotechnology executive director, discussed the current status of the medical laboratory workforce. A new bill was recently introduced in the House to help retain and recruit more medical laboratory professionals. The BIO Preparedness Workforce Act of 2021 would make clinical laboratory technologists and technicians eligible for student loan repayment in exchange for at least three years of service in an underserved area in the areas of bio preparedness and infectious disease. The bill has received a hearing in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

VALID Act—Verifying Accurate Leading-edge IVCT Development Act of 2021

This bill addresses laboratory-developed test (LDT) regulation. It would create a risk-based structure, giving the FDA clear authority to regulate high risk LDTs that are sold or used outside the laboratories in which they are developed. Guest speakers to discuss the bill included Sherie Lou Santos, staff of Rep. Dianne DeGette (D-CO), and Dylan Moore, staff of Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN). Rep. DeGette and Rep. Bucshon co-sponsored the bill.

Pandemic Impact on Testing and Supplies

Tim Manning, White House national COVID response supply coordinator, spoke with attendees about supply chain challenges faced by medical laboratories and future plans.

Rep. Steven Horsford

The day closed with a conversation with Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV), member of the House Ways & Means Committee. He expressed his gratitude for medical laboratory professionals and the instrumental work you’ve done throughout the pandemic. He recognized the challenges that the profession is still facing and discussed his plans to support clinical laboratorians.

Visits to the Hill

On October 26, attendees met with their respective members of Congress—both in person and virtually—to advocate for bills and issues discussed the day before. Thank you for your united efforts to make the voice of medical laboratory professionals strong and heard.