Suzanne Campbell, PhD, MLS(ASCP)CM, ASCLS Past President

The next pillar of our Strategic Map is collaboration. Just as we see the benefit of unified voices versus that of an individual, it is in the best interest of ASCLS to collaborate with other laboratory organizations. Throughout the years, ASCLS leaders and staff have developed ties with the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC), the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), the Clinical Laboratory Management Association (CLMA), the American Medical Technologists (AMT), and the National Independent Laboratory Association (NILA) to name a few. Other strategies for collaboration include inter-professional education among various members of the healthcare team. Lastly, ASCLS will continue to take full advantage of the sponsoring role for the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science (NAACLS) and the ASCP Board of Certification Board of Governors. 

The partnership with AACC and ASCLS has benefited members of both organizations with top notch continuing education opportunities in conjunction with the world’s largest laboratory exposition at the Annual Meeting. Members of executive committees of both organizations have traditionally met during the Annual Meeting to share updates on goals and projects as well as to identify future collaborative endeavors.

As we have done for almost 30 years, ASCLS, ASCP, CLMA, AGT and AMT met for another successful Legislative Symposium in Washington, DC. The selected topics for members to take to their congressmen on Capitol Hill was a request for a delay in the laboratory fee schedule implementation as part of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA) and a request to address the continued laboratory workforce shortage. 

Topics covered include issues like the CMS ruling indicating a bachelor’s degree in nursing is equivalent to a bachelor’s degree in biological science. Such a ruling would allow registered nurses to perform moderate and high complexity testing. ASCLS and ASCP worked closely together on a petition to reverse the ruling with 30,000 signatures was presented to CMS in June 2016, noting the concerns related to quality laboratory testing if performed by non-laboratory professionals. Laboratory organization officials continue to urge CMS to immediately reverse this ruling.

In the future, ASCP and ASCLS will strive to align the timelines for the ASCP Practice Analysis survey and the ASCLS Body of Knowledge entry level curriculum review. It is in the best interest of industry and academia to share the findings of these projects and to join forces to ensure alignment of educational theory and technical competencies with industry practice.

The Doctorate in Clinical Laboratory Science (DCLS) degree will open the doors for advanced practice laboratory professionals to work inter-professionally to improve diagnosis, treatment, and disease prevention modalities. The DCLS will be an important member of hospital utilization and review teams as well as a consultant to the infection prevention department. 

As a sponsoring organization of NAACLS, ASCLS has a vested interest in academic programs to include the program faculty and students. Program directors and faculty who are actively engaged in ASCLS are ideal role models for students. The ASCLS Student Forum provides excellent opportunities for students to be involved at the state, regional, and national levels. Our challenge is retaining student members as they graduate and transition to first year professional status. 

Members of ASCLS are appointed to the ASCP Board of Certification (BOC) Board of Governors and play an important role in making decisions that guide the future of the BOC. Additionally, ASCP provides ASCLS with contact information for examinees that have recently passed the certification exam. This enables ASCLS to contact new professionals to promote membership in the premier laboratory organization that is governed by one’s peers. 

ASCLS maintains representation in the following entities: Health Professions Network, American Hospital Association, International Federation of Biomedical Laboratory Science, Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute, Coordinating Council for Clinical Laboratory Workforce, and the Joint Commission Professional and Technical Advisory committee. It is vital that the interests of medical laboratory professionals are expressed to these organizations. 

It is imperative to the future of our profession that efforts to collaborate with the multitude of laboratory organization are developed, maintained, and expanded. A unified effort to advocate for and to promote laboratory professionals as well as our critical role as a member of the healthcare team results in One Voice, One Vision. Together we can not only Move ASCLS Forward but move the collaborative efforts of multiple organizations forward.