LIVING THE LAB LIFE
A BLOG FOR ASCLS REGION V
Attention all laboratorians, please share this message with all your friends who work/live in North Dakota:
It has been brought to my attention that there is an URGENT matter (or in lab language...STAT!) related to laboratory testing in our state. Right now, there is a bill being debated in the ND Legislature, related to who can perform laboratory testing. The wording proposed would allow anyone to perform waived testing anywhere, without supervision.
Please read the attached letter ("Bill 2202") prepared by ASCLS-ND Past-President Alice Hawley, which describes the situation AND provides you an opportunity to become involved in making sure this dangerous legislation is not passed. Please read it immediately, as action is needed as soon as tomorrow. This is a great opportunity to have a Voice in shaping our profession - thank you in advance for any and all attention to this matter!
Brooke Solberg, PhD, MLS(ASCP)CM
Associate Professor – Department of Medical Laboratory Science
UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences
For all those who plan on attending the annual meeting, this is important. Click here to get a secret code that can be used to save an additional $25 off of registration. The code will be available until March 30th. Early bird registration opens April 1st.
Don't miss out on this opportunity to advocate on behalf of your profession and interact with your local representative. The 2017 Legislative Symposium is scheduled for March 20-21st in Alexandria, VA. Early bird registration ends February 20th.
For more information, please visit http://www.ascls.org/advocacy-issues/legislative-symposium
Here is the full update from the ASCLS National office:
"It is our great pleasure to inform you that the efforts you made to alert the VA to problems with the agency's proposed rule expanding the authority for APRNs to "perform and supervise" laboratory testing has met with success.
"Tomorrow, the VA will publish the final personnel regulations in the Federal Register with changes ASCLS and its members pursued.
"We have successfully convinced the VA to adjust the language to better protect patients while expanding access to care for our nation’s veterans. Further, the VA calls out the "crucial role" laboratorians play in the care of VA patients. The key language explaining this change is below (with our emphasis added).
“Several commenters stated that they were concerned with proposed § 17.415(d)(1)(i)(B), where we stated that a Certified Nurse Practitioner (CNP) may order, perform, or supervise laboratory studies. The commenters stated that the proposed language does not “adequately appreciate the levels of complexity involved in laboratory testing” and that there are rigid standards for laboratory tests that require rigorous academic and practical training, which are not part of the training for APRNs. Another commenter stated, “While the VHA uses the word ‘interpret’ in reference to laboratory and imaging studies,” the commenter “…infers that the VA’s intent is to grant the ability for CNPs to interpret laboratory and imaging results, not to interpret or report raw images or data.” The commenter suggested that VA amend the term “‘interpret’ and recommends instead to use ‘integrate results into clinical decision making,’ or some other phrase” in order to avoid confusion between the duties of an APRN and those of a
laboratory specialist. We agree with the commenter in that the proposed language might be construed as allowing CNPs the ability to perform laboratory studies. It is not VA’s intent to have APRNs take over the role of laboratory specialists. These specialists perform a crucial role at VA medical facilities and are skillfully trained in performing the various testing techniques that allow health care professionals to properly treat a veteran’s medical condition. We are amending proposed § 17.415(d)(1)(i)(B) to now state that a CNP may be granted full practice authority to ‘Order laboratory and imaging studies and integrate the results into clinical decision making.’”
"Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard and with so much passion to address this issue!"
Thank you to everyone who voiced your concerns about this rule. This is a great example of what we laboratorians can do when we stand up for ourselves and our patients.
For more information, please visit: http://www.ascls.org/communication/blog-society-news-now/343-speaking-with-one-voice-laboratorians-convince-va-to-change-rule
On September 27th, 2016, representatives from the Board of Certification (BOC), American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), and American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS) met with officials from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to discuss the recent regulatory change which would allow nurses with a bachelor's degree to perform high-complexity laboratory testing.
In this meeting, CMS representatives explained the reasoning behind the policy change. They stated that the change was made in the effort of addressing the shortage of qualified laboratory professionals to work in physician office laboratories in rural areas. ASCLS and its partners then countered this argument with their own argument related to the risks to patient safety that this policy change may pose.
CMS representatives acknowledged the concerns ASCLS and its partners brought forward and stated that they would be looking into a policy change that serves the best interests of patients everywhere.
Over 35,000 individuals signed the petition that was presented to CMS at this meeting. Thank you to everyone who signed the petition and helped spread the word about this important issue. The BOC, ASCP, and ASCLS will continue to advocate on behalf of our profession and the patients that we care for.
For the full update, please visit:
ASCLS, in conjunction with our partners on the Board of Certification, urge the laboratory community and other interested individuals to Sign the Petition urging the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to reconsider its position that nursing is a biological science for purposes of performing laboratory testing.
Sign the petition at: http://cqrcengage.com/ascpath/app/sign-petition?0&engagementId=239813
On April 1, CMS announced that “an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing is equivalent to an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, respectively, in biological science”—seemingly declaring that individuals with a nursing degree are potentially as qualified to perform advanced testing as certified laboratory professionals. It also appears that CMS’s position could allow individuals with as little as a bachelor’s degree in nursing to direct a CLIA moderate complexity laboratory and/or serve in senior supervisory roles within a CLIA high complexity laboratory. Since the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) of 1988 doesn’t specifically require clinical training of individuals with a degree in biological sciences, CMS’s new policy exempts individuals with a bachelor’s degree in nursing from any specific training requirement prior to performing high complexity testing for diagnostic purposes.
We have great respect for the work and invaluable services nurses provide patients, but we do not agree that the nursing degree is equivalent to a biological sciences degree or that it would adequately prepare someone to perform non-waived laboratory services.
Our greatest concern is this policy will negatively affect test quality and patient outcomes as well as effect access to quality testing services. Take a few minutes to Sign the Petition to tell CMS that you believe a degree in nursing is not the same thing as a degree in the biological sciences and that appropriate academic coursework and clinical training/experience are need to provide quality testing services.
Executive Vice President