The ASCP 2021 Annual Meeting kicked off in October with a powerful theme of inclusivity in the healthcare environment that was woven into conversations throughout the three days of the meeting. A video in the Opening General Session offered historic images of renowned civil rights leaders in history who committed themselves to the fight for justice and freedom for people of all backgrounds, races, and genders. Additionally, images of remarkable women, such as Rosa Parks and the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, presented examples of fearless leaders in their fight for the rights of women.
Against this backdrop, ASCP CEO E. Blair Holladay, PhD, MASCP, SCT(ASCP)CM, welcomed more than 2,000 attendees, both in person and virtually from around the world—Europe, Africa, South America, Asia, and the Middle East—for three exciting days of world-class learning as well as networking with colleagues.
“Thank you all for the extraordinary service you have provided to patients around the globe over this past year, in the fight against the coronavirus,” Dr. Holladay said. “You, the medical laboratory team, have worked heroically around the clock to save lives, and we can never thank you enough for your extraordinary efforts and your focus on providing quality, patient-centered care.”
He then introduced the Opening General Session keynote speaker, Dr. Atul Gawande, a renowned surgeon, writer, and public health leader. In addition to being a practicing endocrine surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Dr. Gawande is the founder and chair of Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health systems innovation, and Lifebox, a non-profit organization that is making surgery safer for patients around the globe. Dr. Gawande is a founder of the Cambridge Innovation Center Health, which is accelerating the scale up of COVID-19 testing and vaccine distribution nationally. He has also dedicated his life to delivering patient-centered care in a climate where healthcare professionals are increasingly called upon to do more, with less.
Thursday's General Session speaker, Dr. Vivian Pinn, spoke about her experience as a Black woman physician and leader of many “firsts” throughout the span of her career. She was the first Black woman to chair an academic pathology department in the U.S., the first full-time director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health, the only Black person and only woman in her class to graduate from the University of Virginia School of Medicine. Now retired, Dr. Pinn is focusing her efforts and influence to galvanize a new generation of pathology and medical laboratory leaders.
Her presentation and the panel discussion that followed, led by Marcia Kinney, MD, MASCP, President-Elect of ASCP, demonstrated how ASCP has long been a leader in emphasizing the need for a diverse workforce that better reflects its patient population.
ASCP has also led the way in establishing partnerships with other key organizations to further its outreach in this field. In early 2021, ASCP announced a partnership with the newly-established Society of Black Pathologists, which presented an extensive lineup of educational sessions at the Annual Meeting, focused on various aspects of diversity in healthcare.
If there were a key takeaway message to attendees this year, it was that ASCP doesn’t just talk about the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives; it has been implementing these initiatives for several years to work toward creating a diverse workforce, an inclusive work environment that promotes and fosters talent and so much more.
Mark your calendar for the ASCP 2022 Annual Meeting, Sept. 7-9, in Chicago and be part of the celebration of ASCP’s centennial celebration!
A longtime ASCP volunteer and leader, Henry (Harv) M. Rinder, MD, FASCP, was installed as 2021-2022 President of ASCP during the Society’s Annual Meeting in October. Dr. Rinder is active in research on inflammation, platelets, and hemostasis; he consults in hematology, teaches residents and fellows in pathology and hematology, and directs the hematology laboratory at Yale-New Haven Hospital. He has been an attending physician at Yale-New Haven Hospital since 1992.
“I am truly honored to have been elected as an officer of ASCP, a society that represents the entire pathology and medical laboratory team and impacts health care around the globe,” he said.
Dr. Rinder has served as a Fellow at-Large on the Board of Directors, as chair of the Commission on Continuing Professional Development, as chair of the Resident In-Service Examination committee, as a member of the Training Residents in Genomics (TRIG) Committee, and on other committees tasked with education, professional development, and serving the pathology and laboratory professional workforce.
Dr. Rinder earned a bachelor’s degree from Yale College, New Haven, CT, and a medical degree from the University of Vermont, Burlington, VT. Dr. Rinder trained in internal medicine at Maine Medical Center under Drs. Robert Hillman, the discoverer of iron homeostasis, and Ken Ault, an innovator of hematology diagnostics, then returned to Yale School of Medicine for training in clinical hematology and clinical pathology, coming on staff at Yale New Haven Hospital in 1992.
ASCP and The Joint Commission announced in October their collaboration in launching a new recognition program crediting laboratory teams for exemplary leadership, mentorship, and innovative best practices. The Leading Laboratories Recognition Program is a one-of-a-kind designation that supports a positive, patient-centric mission, increasing visibility for laboratories and their vital role in a patient’s healthcare journey. The Leading Laboratories designation, available to Joint Commission-accredited laboratories, recognizes laboratories that demonstrate an exemplary focus on positively impacting quality patient outcomes. Through this focus, Leading Laboratories in turn will increase the visibility and prominence of the medical laboratory team among clinical colleagues, hospital leadership, patients, and beyond.
Leading Laboratories was developed and refined by laboratory leaders. The designation is accomplished through a set of criteria designed to quantify and exhibit excellence in four key components: Elevating Quality Outcomes; Supporting Professional Development; Cultivating Trusted Leadership; and Promoting Laboratory Visibility.
This designation sets the gold standard for laboratory excellence, providing:
The Leading Laboratories Recognition Program will also provide a model and roadmap to help laboratories on their journey to achieve this designation. The recognition program will support ASCP's and The Joint Commission’s shared mission of patient safety and quality, while providing another way to confirm laboratories’ essential role in the continuum of care across all health care settings. To learn more about the Leading Laboratories Recognition Program, visit www.leadinglaboratories.org.
Save the date for April 24-30, 2022, and plan to celebrate Medical Laboratory Professionals Week (aka Lab Week)! ASCP is proud to celebrate the thousands of laboratory professionals who dedicate their lives to improving patient outcomes. We thank you for the crucial role of the medical laboratory team in helping to diagnose and manage the treatment of patients across America and around the world. Visit www.ascp.org/labweek for information on celebrations, ASCP's Photo and Video Contest, a link to the Lab Week catalog and more!
The ASCP Board of Certification (BOC) Board of Governors (BOG) has approved “Cytologist” as the new credentialing name for the cytotechnologist certification and “Specialist in Cytology” for the specialist in cytotechnology certification. The new designations are intended to standardize naming conventions for these certifications to remove technologist or technology from the name. This is in progress for the credential Medical Laboratory Scientist from Medical Technologist.
As the governing body for the ASCP BOC, the BOG strives to ensure excellence in certification of laboratory professionals on behalf of patients worldwide. The BOG is comprised of leaders from the following sponsoring, participating, and collaborating societies. Sponsoring organizations are ASCP, the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science, and the Association of Genetic Technologists.
Participating organizations are the Association for the Advancement of Blood & Biotherapies, the American Association of Pathologists’ Assistants, the American Society for Microbiology, the American Society for Cytopathology, the Clinical Laboratory Management Association, and the National Society for Histotechnology. Collaborating organizations are the American Association for Clinical Chemistry and the American Society for Hematology.
Inside the Lab is ASCP’s podcast focusing on current topics showcasing the everyday laboratory professional and pathologist. The podcast’s goal is to generate thought-provoking discussions about topics relevant to the field of pathology and laboratory medicine. Episodes will center on current topics such as the intersection of wellness and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives, the carbon footprint of clinical laboratories, and more to build awareness of the work of pathologists and laboratory professionals. Each Inside the Lab episode is eligible for CME/CMLE credit.
ASCP joined with the American Medical Association (AMA) and other medical societies to raise concern to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services about unfair business practices by health plans related to electronic payments for health care services. ASCP and others are asking CMS to clarify and enforce the right of pathologists and other physicians to receive electronic payments via the Automated Clearing House electronic funds transfer (EFT) standard without being forced to pay percentage-based fees for so-called “value-added” services.
A recent poll by the Medical Group Management Association found that 57 percent of medical practices surveyed reported that health plans charge fees that the practice has not agreed to when sending payments via the EFT standard, with 86 percent reporting average fees of 2 percent to 3 percent associated with each claim. These fees are most often assessed by third-party vendors with which health plans require physicians to contract for EFT payment processing.
CMS has failed to provide clear guidance on this issue, enabling the imposition of inappropriate fees on electronic payments. ASCP and other signers of the joint letter are seeking guidance from the agency that affirms physicians’ right to choose and receive basic EFT payments without paying for these services coupled with agency enforcement of the guidance.