News

ASCP NEWS -- October 2023

Oct 1, 2023, 09:26 AM by Susan Montgomery

Gain All the Education You Need— ASCP 2023 Annual Meeting, Oct. 18–20!

With more than 120 sessions covering anatomic and clinical pathology, laboratory medicine, laboratory management, and more, the ASCP 2023 Annual Meeting’s education program is poised to teach you essential skills and knowledge applicable to your job and to help boost your career to the next level. Specialized education tracks for laboratory professionals and pathologists taught by renowned leaders; video microscopy tutorials on complex cases; CME and CMLE credits; and more!!

These are some of the many reasons why you should attend ASCP 2023, to be held Oct. 18-20, in Long Beach, California. Whether you are a laboratory professional, pathologist, pathology resident, or fellow, you will find an education path designed just for you at ASCP 2023.

Inspirational keynote speakers

Two extraordinary individuals who are making an impact on public health and patient advocacy will headline ASCP 2023. On October 18, renowned actor and cancer patient advocate Rob Lowe will present the General Session keynote address. An advocate for resiliency in the face of adversity, Mr. Lowe delivers an inspirational message about the fight against cancer from a personal perspective. He has lost his mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother to cancer, and his father survived non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Mr. Lowe
Mr. Lowe
Dr. Corbett
Dr. Corbett

The following day, Kizzmekia S. Corbett, PhD, scientific lead of the Vaccine Research Center Coronavirus Team at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, will deliver the Scientific General Session. Dr. Corbett and her colleagues were central to the development of the Moderna mRNA vaccine and the Eli Lilly therapeutic monoclonal antibody, both of which were first to enter clinical trials in the world. As a result, her work has had a substantial impact on ending the worst respiratory disease pandemic in more than 100 years. Dr. Corbett is now an assistant professor in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Disease at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in Boston, MA. Her work now extends beyond the development of COVID-19 vaccines to the outlook of this pandemic and future viral pandemics.

These two keynote speakers have a passion for quality patient care and advocacy that will inspire and set the tone for ASCP 2023, which will equip you with actionable learning that you can employ on the job and leverage to enhance your career. Interactive session formats and a world-class lineup of speakers will leave you inspired, energized, and well-equipped with a strong set of new tools and knowledge.

New education tracks

Highlights will include a dedicated track for laboratory professionals, developed by laboratory professionals. Begun several years ago, this ever-popular track includes a laboratory professional session in each time slot during the Annual Meeting. Renowned laboratory professional leaders will present all of the sessions, which are focused on the following four areas: Chemistry, Hematology/ Coagulation, Blood Banking/Transfusion Medicine, and Microbiology. In addition, there will be a laboratory management and administration track.

This year, a number of pathology tracks have also been developed, making it easier for pathologists to focus in on their area of practice. New tracks include Surgical Pathology, Hematopathology, Clinical Pathology, and Cytopathology. Also for pathologists are video microscopy tutorials, back by popular demand. Topics will include Molecularly Defined Renal Cell Carcinoma and its Differential Diagnosis; Large Gland Lesions of the Prostate; and Dealing with Difficult Diagnostic Specimens from Patients with Testicular Neoplasms. Sessions in the surgical pathology track will include:

  • A Practical Approach to Problematic Thoracic Pathology Cases, led by Jeffrey Myers, MD, FASCP, Kristine Konopka, MD, and Tao Huang, BM, PhD, FASCP (Day 1)
  • Molecularly-Defined Renal Cell Carcinoma and its Differential Diagnosis (a VMT session), presented by Sean Williamson, MD, FASCP, and Mahmut Akgul, MD (Day 1)
  • Diagnostic Challenges in Lower Gastrointestinal Tract Ulcers: Histopathological Approach for Appropriate Diagnosis in Biopsy Specimens, by Yue Xue, MD, PhD, and Yang Guang-Yu, MD, PhD (Day 2)
  • A Simple and Practical Diagnostic Approach to Frozen Sections from the Liver, presented by Vishal Chandan, MD, and Sejal Shah, MD (Day 2)
  • Videomicroscopy Tutorial (VMT) Dealing with Difficult Diagnostic Specimens from Patients with Testicular Neoplasms, by Thomas Ulbright, MD (Day 3)

Pre-meeting workshops

On October 17, the day before the start of ASCP 2023, there will be two new workshops offered for laboratory professionals and pathologists, featuring two concurrent, four-hour sessions. One session will focus on gastrointes- tinal pathology; the other will focus on the growing role of artificial intelligence in the laboratory. Extra registration is required. In addition, the 14-session Rapid Review Series will offer a rapid-fire review of foundational knowledge for attendees at any stage in their careers.

The “Hot Topic Meet-Ups” —a big hit at last year’s Annual Meeting—will return this year. Attendees do not need to register for these; they can just show up and engage with peers who are in similar fields and discuss top-of-mind topics in a lively, informal setting.

In recent years, wellness and burnout has become a concern of healthcare providers. In addition to sessions that focus on wellness, there will be engaging activities built into this year’s meeting to help attendees de-stress, recharge, and have fun. With Long Beach situated by the Pacific Ocean, you’ll have the ultimate in wellness activities nearby!

Workforce lounge

If you are currently seeking career advice, the ASCP Workforce Lounge will provide tools and resources to help. The Workforce Lounge will feature networking opportunities, professional advice from ASCP volunteer mentors curated for pathologists and laboratory professionals, and more.

With all the networking opportunities and outstanding education, and interactive session formats, ASCP 2023 is sure to leave you inspired, energized, and well-equipped with a strong set of new tools and knowledge. Discover more about ASCP 2023 at ascp.org/2023.

ASCP Launches Member ‘Hot Topic’ Roundtable Series

The ASCP Member Councils have kicked off a series of engaging, hot topic 60-minute roundtables in a virtual environment. The roundtable series is designed to foster learning and networking among ASCP members who share an interest in each topic. Each Member Council has hand-selected the topics based on member feedback and they are assembling industry experts to be participants based on the topic for the roundtable.

The roundtables are developed and hosted by one of the ASCP Member Councils—the Resident Council, the Council of Laboratory Professionals, the Pathologist Council, and the Council of Laboratory Management and Administration.

“Roundtables are an engaging way to bring together ASCP members from all laboratory professions in a relaxed atmosphere to discuss topics or challenges that are important to our daily work, or our professional development and advancement,” says Diana Kremitske, MHA, MS, MT(ASCP), Chair of the ASCP Commission on Membership.

“Another valuable aspect of having ongoing roundtable opportunities is that they foster a sense of community and place where you can ask questions, obtain valuable input from peers who have experience with the topic or who might have an insightful, different perspective,” she says.

ASCP members will receive invitations via email. While these roundtables are free, they are ASCP member-only events and registration will be required.

ASCP Central New York Chapter Addresses Needs of Laboratory Professionals in the Northeast

The ASCP Central New York Chapter has maintained a healthy membership of nearly 226 active members and is working to strengthen its membership. Since 2020, the ASCP Central New York Chapter has held monthly Zoom meetings to keep members engaged in ongoing education.

Its Fall 2022 gathering served as its annual meeting, held in collaboration with another professional society. As New York State requires laboratory professionals to be licensed to practice, the ASCP Central New York Chapter always invites representatives of the New York State Department of Health Clinical Laboratory Evaluation Program (CLEP) and the New York State Education Department to speak at its annual meeting. New York State CLEP representatives provide information on quality improvement for patient testing.

The October meeting also invited experts in the field to address other pressing matters, such as laboratory staffing, quality improvement, and test utilization. The Chapter also invited a pathologist to speak and worked to ensure that all facets of the medical laboratory were addressed in its program.

The ASCP Central New York Chapter welcomes professionals who work in various parts of the laboratory, and also reaches out to local laboratory students. Participating in an ASCP Local Chapter is a great way for ASCP members to connect with other laboratory professionals in their area as well as keep current on education and regulatory trends. Learn more about ASCP Local Chap- ters at www.ascp.org/localchapters.

CMS Lets Pathologists and Laboratory Professionals Continue Remote Review of Digital Images

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)—at the urging of ASCP, the Society for Pathology Informatics, and others—temporarily allowed pathologists and laboratory professionals to read slides remotely without requiring a separate Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certificate.

ASCP’s advocacy efforts to make that permanent appear to be working. In May, CMS announced that pathologists and other laboratory personnel could continue to review digital laboratory data remotely after the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency ended later that month.

In its guidance, CMS clarified that pathologists and other laboratory personnel could continue to review digital laboratory data, digital results and digital images remotely, without obtaining a separate CLIA certificate. That said, the CMS guidance requires that the work being performed at the remote testing site must fall within the specialties/subspecialties covered under the primary site’s CLIA certificate.

Prior to the CMS policy allowing pathologists and laboratory professionals to perform remote reads, pathologists needed a separate CLIA certificate for the site at which they would perform them. And because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also has certain requirements about signing out slides remotely, such as specific requirements for the computer monitor, a secure telecommunications line, and other requirements that comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), this generally meant that remote reviews would occur in a specific location, such as an office or home location. CMS’s new policy of not requiring a separate CLIA certificate for remote review allows pathologists and laboratory personnel to review slides almost anywhere, provided it is not for the purposes of primary sign out of cases (per the FDA requirements).

“Being able to review slides remotely would be a game changer for both anatomical and clinical pathologists,” says Anil Parwani, MD, PHD, FASCP, MBA, professor of Pathology and Biomedical Informatics at The Ohio State University and chair of the Society for Pathology Informatics. “Allowing pathologists to review slides remotely would provide patients access to care services without any interruption or delay, thereby enhancing the timeliness for patients to receive a quality diagnosis.”

Advocate for Your Laboratory: ASCP Releases Negotiation & Advocacy Toolbox

ASCP, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has launched a new initiative to address the laboratory workforce shortage.

Through a cooperative agreement with the CDC, ASCP has developed a Negotiation and Advocacy Toolbox, aimed at providing clinical laboratory directors with adaptable and practical tools to help demonstrate the value of their laboratories and to better advocate for their needs to C-Suite and hospital administration.

This serviceable resource is specifically tailored to improve coordination and standardization among the laboratory community while strengthening the public health infrastructure overall. The Toolbox serves as a vital asset in enabling laboratory directors to emphasize the value(s) of their laboratories to the appropriate decision markers. Through the Toolbox, ASCP offers capital, guidance, and best practices to ensure an efficient uniformed laboratory workforce development.

The Toolkit comprises five pillars; the first two pillars were released on Aug 31, 2023. The additional three pillars are set to launch in 2024.

Each pillar will provide resources on:

  • Laboratory visibility will teach laboratory professionals how to plan for communications to promote visibility of the laboratory and gain stakeholder buy-in and interest in the laboratory.
  • People and Culture will teach laboratory professionals how to be the best place to work in pathology and labo- ratory medicine by cultivating diverse life-long learners and engaging and guiding the next generation of laboratory leaders, supervisors, managers, and MLS to build a culture of patient-focused laboratory advocates.
  • Quality
  • Service and Growth
  • Financials

ASCP encourages members to use this Toolkit and share it with colleagues. Access the ASCP Negotiation & Advocacy Toolbox at www.supportcdconelab.org/toolbox.

This resource was made possible by Cooperative Agreement number NU47OE000107 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the American Society for Clinical Pathology and do not necessarily represent the official views of CDC.