ASCLS/CLMA/ASCP/AMT/AGT/NSH Legislative Symposium
“Leg Day” March 18-19, 2019
The CLMA Legislative, Compliance and Regulatory Committee (LCRC) assisted in the planning and presentations for the 2019 Legislative Symposium held in Washington, D.C. on March 18-19. Three members of CLMA’s LCRC attended this year's event: Diane Cicchini, Michele Best, and Rod Forsman. In addition, several other CLMA members were in attendance.
Advocacy efforts on behalf of CLMA members take many forms. Resources are directed toward a physical presence on Capitol Hill each spring for the annual Hill visits. When legislation, regulations, or enforcement actions by the Federal Government and its agencies affect clinical laboratory managers, CLMA first determines whether it would benefit our membership to support, oppose, or remain neutral on the issue. Educating our members and stakeholders on emerging legislative and regulatory issues is the goal of the LCRC.
Whether an action benefits or adversely affects the membership, seeking remedy from legislators typically takes the form of asking for support or opposition to bills before the House and Senate, or recommending that new bills be introduced. If the issue involves actions by regulatory agencies, it is often helpful to enlist the support of Senators and Members of Congress who communicate these concerns to the agencies. Congress ultimately has oversight to determine if statutory intent was met by the agency. CLIA and PAMA are good examples. Face-to-face meetings with key legislators and their staff in D.C. or their home office create two-way communication links that are very important for subsequent interactions.
The agenda for “Leg Day” is focused on current legislative and regulatory topics affecting the laboratory industry. The first day of the meeting is educational for the registrants on the issues and the approach to Congress. This year the educational sessions focused on data on personnel shortages, PAMA, and laboratory developed tests. Rod Forsman presented on behalf of CLMA on the impacts of PAMA that were documented in a survey of CLMA members conducted in 2018. ACLA presented information on its legal efforts to reverse PAMA. ASCP presented extensive data on laboratory shortages and expected retirement numbers. The second day is reserved for Hill visits on issues of importance to the Laboratory Industry. This year we focused on describing the impacts of PAMA on CLMA member organizations and on a new bill “The Allied Health Personnel Shortage Act of 2019”. This is a draft bill focused on laboratory personnel shortages. At our visits, we were seeking sponsors for this bill on Capitol Hill. The draft bill would establish a program of scholarships and loan repayment to alleviate the shortage of laboratory professionals. It would prioritize professions with the biggest shortages. It also requested a demonstration program in which eligible hospitals would receive payment for reasonable costs associated with provision of clinical training for laboratory professionals. We also asked Congress to allow laboratory professionals input on the Verifying Accurate Leading-edge IVCT Development Act of 2018 (VALID Act) which would regulate laboratory-developed tests. We discussed the importance of practical regulation of LDTs.
LCRC committee members visited their members of Congress to discuss these issues including:
- Sen. Ben Cardin, Senate Finance Committee
- Sen. Gary Peters, Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee
- Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Finance Committee, Subcommittee on Healthcare
- Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Senior Whip
- Congressman Andy Levin, Committee on Education and Labor
- Congressman Justin Amash, House Liberty Caucus
- Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota
Please take the opportunity to peruse the attached documents and carry forward your support by e-mailing or calling your elected officials in Washington, D.C. or their home offices. We have been told that as few as six individuals can frame their position on an important issue.
We encourage more CLMA Chapters to sponsor one or more of their members to attend the 2020 Legislative Symposium so our voices can be heard loud and clear on Capitol Hill.
Stay up to date on the advocacy issues facing you and your laboratory through the Advocacy section of CLMA's website.