Have you heard about the recent proposed state legislation that would gut MT/MLT licensure issued by the Tennessee Medical Laboratory Board? Did you hear how the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science Tennessee (ASCLS-TN) Chapter helped save licensure?
In 2018, Tennessee legislators amended the law exempting laboratories working in a state-operated medical facility from the regulations of the Tennessee Medical Laboratory Act. Following in these footsteps, Quest diagnostics and a trade group called Life Science Tennessee approached legislators with the request to pass a new bill that would exempt privately-owned laboratories from the same licensure and regulation laws. The legislators were informed that the licensure by the Tennessee Medical Laboratory Board was unnecessary to staff modern laboratories and redundant since laboratorians were already licensed by Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA).
As practicing laboratorians, we know that neither of these statements are true. By the time ASCLS-TN leadership realized that this legislation (SB0318/HB0328) was being sponsored, the bill had already passed two votes in the Tennessee Senate and the sister bill passed the first vote in the Tennessee House of Representative. Both bills were sent to committee to examine feasibility. ASCLS-TN leadership began a call to action for members across the state to contact their senators and representatives to let them know where we stand on this bill. We took this opportunity to create an informational document explaining the difference in CLIA oversight and Tennessee Licenses for MTs/MLTs for our members to reference during conversations with their legislators.
ASCLS-TN members joined forces with other laboratory and pathology groups across Tennessee to convince the bill’s sponsors to withdraw their support. If nothing changes, the proposals will die in committee. However, this fight is not over. With large groups desiring this change, we must remain vigilant in monitoring the proposed legislation in Tennessee to ensure that our state continues to provide the best care possible to our patients. We must be ready to gather our community as one body to respond and educate our representatives concerning the necessity for licensure.
ASCLS-TN needs you to join the fight to protect our patients and our profession. With a larger membership base, our representatives are more likely to listen and vote with us on this type of bill. We invite you to add your support to ASCLS-TN in protecting our patients’ well-being by becoming a member today.
ASCLS is made up of nearly 9,000 laboratory professionals, including more than 150 individuals in Tennessee. The Society is dedicated to ensuring excellence in the practice of laboratory medicine.
In additional to advocating for the profession, membership in ASCLS provides opportunities to network with peers across the country; to get involved at local and national levels and help chart the future for the profession; and to continue your professional learning. Learn more about the membership benefits, and join the ASCLS-TN community today.
Krystal Bullard, MLS(ASCP)CM, ASCLS-TN President
Eric Stanford, MHA, MLS(ASCP)CM, ASCLS-TN President Elect
|Perry Scanlan, PhD, MLS(ASCP)CM, ASCLS-TN Past President
Professor and Program Director, Austin Peay State University