The nation's laboratory workforce has been shrinking for decades, a trend that has become more acute since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. AACC has been an advocate for modernizing CLIA regulations to help address the need for laboratory personnel. In the position statement Modernization of CLIA: Moderate and High Complexity Testing, the association further outlines several recommendations to address this issue and calls on policymakers to take action:
- Congress should provide federal funding to increase the number of Medical Laboratory Scientists (MLS) who are vital to performing and ensuring quality patient testing.
- AACC supports the creation of alternative pathways to qualify individuals to serve as testing personnel if they can demonstrate equivalency with the current requirements.
- Policymakers should allocate funding to hospitals and/or reference laboratories that provide clinical testing rotations to students from medical laboratory scientist programs.
- Legislators should create a loan forgiveness program for clinical laboratory professionals willing to work in underserved areas for a specified period, potentially further incentivizing individuals to enter the field.
Early career laboratorians are automatically part of the Society for Young Clinical Laboratorians (SYCL). SYCL provides networking, mentorship, programming, and recognition opportunities. Programs include an annual SYCL Workshop and Mixer at the AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo, online virtual events, access to the SYCL Artery forum – AACC’s online community, the mentoring connections program, and to various wellness initiatives. SYCL’s programs and resources are guided by the SYCL Core Committee.
Scope of Practice: AACC compiled a document that covers the scope of practice for board certified clinical laboratory directors. This document outlines the invaluable contributions that these professionals play to ensure that their patients receive