Stephanie K. Mabry MS, MLS(ASCP)CMSCCM, ASCLS PAC Board of Trustees Chair

The ASCLS region with the highest donations receives the PAC-tastic Trophy (top). Individuals who donate $40 or more, receive the annual PAC Pin (above).

Many laboratorians see the need for effective advocacy for our profession and the patients we serve, and yet many of us, for various reasons, also feel hesitation about writing to our elected officials, visiting their offices, or participating in organized advocacy events such as the Laboratory Legislative Symposium. Nevertheless, that hesitation does not excuse us from our professional duty in advocating for high standards of care and utmost quality in laboratory medicine. Fortunately, there is an easy, effective, and “behind-the-scenes” way every single ASCLS member can play a role in the advocacy efforts of our profession—contribute to the ASCLS PAC!

What is the PAC?

The PAC, or Political Action Committee, is a voluntary nonprofit organization created to provide financial support for the election campaigns of lawmakers who have been sensitive to the needs of the clinical laboratory profession. It is also a way to gain access and attention for our legislative issues to ensure the laboratory profession is in the minds of Congress. ASCLS is the only laboratory organization with a PAC, and it relies on voluntary donations from members to carry out these important functions.

What types of legislative issues does PAC money address?

Our current legislative requests to Congress are to:

  • Provide financial support for laboratories performing COVID-19 testing through an Emergency Laboratory Surge Capacity Fund and through Title III of the Defense Production Act.
  • Enact and fund the Allied Health Personnel Shortage Act (H.R. 6302) to establish scholarships and loan repayment to alleviate shortages of clinical laboratory personnel and other allied health professionals.
  • Provide funding to educational programs, including laboratory preceptorships, to expand the number of students that programs can accept in the fall.

By financially supporting candidates who support and back these issues, or who hold key positions within the pertinent congressional committees necessary to make these things happen, the ASCLS PAC plays a key role in moving this legislative agenda forward.

To whom has the PAC given donations?

A few examples of individuals to whom recent ASCLS PAC campaign contributions were made are:

  • Brendan Boyle (D-PA), House Committee on Ways and Means
  • Paul Tonko (D-NY), House Committee on Energy and Commerce
  • James McGovern (D-MA), Chairman of House Committee on Rules
  • Sylvia Garcia (D-TX), House Committee on Financial Services

It is important to note that laboratory issues are nonpartisan, and the ASCLS PAC makes contributions to both democrats and republicans who have the ability to influence legislation in our favor. Typically, contributions are made to legislators who hold leadership positions in key committees through which our legislative issues are addressed, or who have a personal tie and emotional investiture in the healthcare industry.

Why should I donate?

At current member donation levels to the PAC, ASCLS PAC would be able to make approximately 8-10 campaign contributions a year. However, ASCLS PAC desires to make 25-30 contributions each year to make significant headway in pushing our legislative agenda. To make that happen, we need your help and financial contribution to the PAC.

Furthermore, as laboratory professionals, we are bound by our professional duty to “actively seek to change those laws and regulations that do not meet the high standards of care and practice.” As an ASCLS member, you “pledge to uphold my duty to Patients, the Profession and Society by” [among other things] “changing conditions where necessary to advance the best interests of patients.” Current financial reimbursement of laboratory testing and severe workforce shortages are NOT in the best interest of patients. While we cannot all travel to Washington, D.C., and knock on doors ourselves, especially in light of current conditions, we CAN all resolve to donate to the PAC, and put our money where our mouth, and our professional responsibility, is.

What amount should I donate?

As an individual, you can donate anywhere from $20 to $2,000. If every ASCLS member donated the $20 minimum, we would reach our goal of 25-30 campaign contributions in a year. However, ASCLS PAC also has a recognition structure for dedicated donors who go above and beyond.

For a $40 donation, donors will receive the annual PAC Pin as a thank you gift. The annual PAC pin comes in a year-specific color. For those who donate $300 total in one membership year, the thank you gift is a special gold-colored PAC Pin. And the highest recognition, for those who donate $300 total for three consecutive years, is the “Platinum Pin,” an eye-catching silver-toned pin with three embedded red, white, and blue glass jewels.

Additionally, the ASCLS region with the highest total donations will be recognized at the House of Delegates with the traveling “PAC-tastic Trophy,” which currently resides in Region V. Along with the dazzling trophy, the winning region secures enjoyable bragging rights until the trophy comes back up for grabs at the next Laboratory Legislative Symposium or Joint Annual Meeting!

How do I donate?

ASCLS PAC has an easy-to-use Square donation form.

Donations can also be made through the “DONATE” link in the upper right corner of the ASCLS home page.

Stephanie Mabry is a Medical Laboratory Scientist at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan.