Addressing the Clinical Laboratory Workforce Shortage
This summer during the ASCLS Annual Meeting in Chicago, the 2018 ASCLS House of Delegates approved the Addressing the Clinical Laboratory Workforce Shortage Position Paper. This position paper is a critical need for ASCLS advocacy efforts to address the workforce shortage. We encourage you to read the paper and share it with your colleagues.
Free Constituent Leader Institute Online Modules
To develop effective constituent society leaders and engage those leaders in the implementation of best practices, ASCLS created a series of online modules to compliment the Constituent Leaders Symposium.
These modules are developed and presented by ASCLS leaders and professional staff. They include topics such as ASCLS Strategic Plan, Volunteer Management, and Marketing and Communications. In addition to the presentations, references and other tools are provided within the modules.
Report Deadline Approaching
Reports for the Fall Board meeting are due to regional directors from state constituent societies on October 5. Reports from the regions, national committees, and affiliated organizations are due on October 12. Questions can be addressed to regional directors and board liaisons, who can provide standard report templates.
Membership Change = Growth
The new ASCLS membership year started on August 1, and we're already seeing success with the new membership categories.
- The Student category was changed to "Developing Professional" and added clarity for members who have returned to school to pursue additional degrees (Bachelors, Masters, PhD, and DCLS).
- The First Year Professional category was changed to "Ascending Professional" and has been extended to the first five years following graduation. This change has had a dramatic impact on retention of these professionals. In September, the 413 current Ascending Professional Members represents a 71% increase over the number of Ascending Professionals who were members at this time last year.
- Professional I and II categories were combined into one Professional category with a slightly lower dues rate for renewing Professional I members.
- The Collaborative category was changed to "Community" and is open to anyone who is interested in ASCLS membership (e-membership with no voting privileges).
- The Emeritus category has a new process for how members are eligible for this category.
- Nearly 90 members have joined or renewed as Sustaining Members to show their support for the Society’s mission. Contact us if you're interested in becoming a Sustaining Member.
- Overall, we have seen a modest increase in total memberships compared to this time last year.
There's still time to renew for the 2018-19 membership year and save money. After October 15, those who want to re-join will have to pay the full join rate.
New Clinical Lab Investigations - A Microbiology Case: Now There Are Five
The ASCLS Product Development Committee recently produced CLI Case Study #25 - A Microbiology Case: Now There Are Five. This online course presents a case of a patient infected by the malarial parasite Plasmodium knowlesi.
The self-study is P.A.C.E ® accredited for one (1) contact hour in the area General (Microbiology/Mycology/Parasitology). This intermediate-level program is appropriate for laboratory professionals working in clinical, public health, and academic settings.
Free Chromogenic Media Webinar Recording
More than 350 people registered for the complimentary microbiology webinar sponsored by BD Life Sciences - Diagnostic Systems earlier this month. The webinar discussed chromogenic media and identified lab protocols that may improve the efficiency of urine culture performance. Access the recording and earn one hour of P.A.C.E ® credit.
Connect: The Community Conversations
In case you've missed the recent discussion posts on ASCLS Connect, here is a sampling of the spirited conversations happening online:
- In the Open Forum, educators are discussing whether or not they teach MLT or MLS students about analytical balances in the MLT/MLS curriculum and whether or not graduates need this skill.
- Also in the Open Forum, members are sharing best practices for CAP personnel records.
- The Microbiology/Public Health Community is talking about procedures for reporting Cdiff and confirmatory or secondary testing they perform.
- The Chemistry/Urinalysis Community has a question of the month for September - Are you reporting transgender chemistry values in your laboratory or teaching them in your classrooms? If so, do you have some examples of observed differences in comparison to male and or female reference ranges?
- The Developing Professionals Forum is discussing the difference in coursework and clinical rotations for Bachelor's versus Master's programs and job opportunities for those with a Master's.
2019 Annual Meeting
We received about 120 proposals for the 2019 ASCLS Annual Meeting to be held June 23-27 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Thank you to everyone who shared your ideas and proposals. They are currently being reviewed by the Abstract and Proposal Review Committee and Scientific Assemblies.
The Annual Meeting Steering Committee will meet in Charlotte at the end of this month to prepare for 2019 and set the program based on the feedback from our many volunteers. Stay tuned for more news about exciting plans for Charlotte. We hope to see you there!
Fall Regional Meetings
Join ASCLS members in your region for Lab CE and lots of fun. Check out these upcoming meetings.
Region VIII Inter Mountain States Seminar
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Region IV Touchpoint Event
Region V Symposium
Brooklyn Center (Minneapolis North), Minnesota
ASCLS Events Calendar
Add your upcoming events to the ASCLS Events Calendar:
Legislative & Regulatory Update
ASCLS is always busy in the legislative and regulatory arenas protecting the ability of laboratory professionals to have the greatest impact on patient health, well-being and safety. Recent work has focused in three areas:
PAMA: In August, ASCLS was one of 36 medical organizations who sent a letter to the chairs and ranking members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the House Ways and Means Committee, and the Senate Finance Committee, which have jurisdiction over a potential legislative fix to the disastrous implementation of Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA). The implementation of the act essentially cut fees paid to laboratories by the federal government by 10% in January of this year and will likely cut those fees another 10% next January. ASCLS and the other stakeholders believe Congress needs to take action. We stand together in our position that the Congress must advance legislation to address data integrity concerns on which the cuts are based, replacing it with a statistically valid process; ensure that the private payer data CMS collects accurately represents all segments of the clinical laboratory market (national independent, community and rural independent, hospital outreach, and physician office laboratories); and provide a transparent process to allow for the validation of the data collected by CMS.
Laboratory Developed Tests: ASCLS has been working with other laboratory groups, patient advocacy organizations, and medical associations as part of the Diagnostic Testing Reform Coalition, which seeks to pass legislation to empower the FDA to appropriately regulate laboratory developed tests. The ASCLS Government Affairs Committee has submitted voluminous comments and technical guidance to the congressional sponsors of draft legislation called the Diagnostic Accuracy and Innovation Act (DAIA). Recent technical assistance from the FDA on the draft was supportive of the ASCLS position on the legislation, leading other organizations to align their positions with ASCLS.
Workforce: The Society is exploring a variety of ways the federal government may be able to address the growing and critical shortage of laboratory professionals, including legislation. In the wake of thousands of ASCLS members providing comments to a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) request for information on a variety of workforce related topics, ASCLS attended the Spring CLIAC meeting to reinforce the importance of this issue for the regulatory agencies. CLIAC, which advised the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) on laboratory regulation, approved a series of recommendations for detailed study of the problem. In addition, ASCLS is working with a group of associations organized by the CDC around laboratory issues, on the challenge of the laboratory workforce. The workforce position paper approved by the ASCLS House of Delegates in August is currently being prepared for distribution to all 535 members of Congress later this year.