Pat Tille, PhD, MT(ASCP), FACSc

Health insurance costs are rising. Reimbursement rates are falling. Clinical laboratories are facing critical workforce shortages. There is no time like the present to remember what ASCLS does and why it’s important to be a member.

Advocacy: ASCLS is our voice when there are professional challenges and opportunities to move the profession forward. Advocacy begins with your local state society in venues such as legislative symposiums with your senators, representatives, and governors. Beginning with advocacy at the local level allows everyone’s voice to be heard. This continues every spring when ASCLS takes our issues to Congress in Washington, D.C. This annual event partners ASCLS with other professional laboratory organizations on key issues affecting laboratory testing, education, billing, and reimbursement.

Service: ASCLS promotes the profession as an indispensable and necessary component of healthcare around the world. ASCLS is here to provide services to the membership, and the membership provides services to others. ASCLS offers networking opportunities, continuing education, and the chance to make a difference in the profession. In addition, laboratory professionals are active throughout education, healthcare, and industry, servicing the multifaceted levels of healthcare needs in all areas.

Collaboration: ASCLS promotes collaboration across the healthcare industry and with other professional organizations and industry partners. This is evident at local, regional, and national meetings where members and non-members witness the presence of vendors at all levels to support and promote laboratory science. With the professional partnerships and collaboration fostered in ASCLS, the voice of the laboratory profession can be heard.

Life-Long: As a 25-year member of ASCLS, I have never doubted the commitment the organization and the membership have to quality healthcare and clinical laboratory education. Throughout my participation in ASCLS, from a state student forum representative to a national member of the Board of Directors, I continue to develop friendships at every level of our membership. These friendships provide support during times of personal crisis, support for professional development, and more importantly, another laboratorian that thinks like I do.

Safety: And lastly, but most certainly not the least important, is the commitment of the membership and the organization to patient safety. It is sometimes difficult for other health profession practitioners to understand how a laboratory professional can make a difference when it comes to patient safety. From the pre-analytical phase, where most diagnostic errors are made; to the analytical phase, where the least amount of errors is made; to the post-analytical reporting phase, laboratory professionals constantly review, evaluate, and improve on areas that advance diagnostics, resulting in improvements in patient care.

As our profession moves through these challenging times it is important to remember our commitment to each other, the profession, and the patients. ASCLS provides the opportunity to ensure the future of the profession and quality health care. It is important for everyone to maintain their professional membership, support the organization, and work to meet these challenges head on. Remember what ASCLS can do and find your niche in the organization. It will pay you back 1,000 times more!