Courtesy of the IHCRG: Bill in HOR Medical Laboratory Personnel Shortage Act of 2001

From:Luis Chiriboga <>

> To HPN participants:  Here is more information on the bill in the US
> House of
> Representatives to increase funding for the Allied Health Project Grants
> program  with suggestions on how to contact your congressional reps.  It
> came from:
> Sonya Naryshkin, M.D. Chairman, ASC Legislative and Regulatory Affairs
> Committee
> A new bill entitled, " the Medical Laboratory Personnel Shortage Act of
> 2001" (HR 1948) has just been introduced to the U.S. House of
> Representatives by U.S. Representatives John Shimkus (R-IL) and Jesse
> Jackson, Jr. (D-IL). This bill addresses  the approaching serious
> shortage of medical laboratory personnel in the United States.
> Representatives Shimkus, Jackson and bill cosponsors, Representatives
> Michael Bilirakis (R-FL) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), worked with the
> American Society of Clinical Pathologists in finding solutions to
> attract professionals into the laboratory field.
> The "2000 biennial wage and vacancy survey"  conducted by the ASCP Board
> of
> Registry, in conjunction with MORPACE International indicated that
> nationally, twenty per cent of cytotechnology and histotechnology
> postitons are currently unfilled. Ira D. Godwin, MD, FASCP, President of
> the ASCP states that  "this is a cause for immediate concern as some
> laboratories will  not have the appropriate personnel available to
> evaluate Pap smears or prepare  biopsies" and, "given the aging
> population, the number and complexity of biopsy specimens and molecular
> techniques are likely to increase...the
> laboratory workforce will need to be able to react to these concerns
> with sufficient numbers of trained and educated personnel".
> The bill attempts to help alleviate this shortage  by expanding the
> National Health Service Corps Scholarship and Loan Repayment Program to
> medical technologists and  medical laboratory technicians.  It increases
> funding for the Allied Health Project Grants program, which helps
> attract laboratory professionals to the field, especially minorities and
> individuals in rural and underserved communities.  The bill also
> highlights programs for increasing medical laboratory personnel in the
> areas of cervical cancer screening, antimicrobial resistance efforts,
> bioterrorism, and transfusion medicine.  The bill takes advantage of
> several existing programs and will help  expand funding programs for
> training cytotechnologists and medical  technologists. Note that
> regarding the Breast and Cervical Cancer treatment act, it is
> specifically designed NOT to take money from screening programs for
> underprivileged women--funding for training does not apply unless the
> amount  appropriated goes over about 174 million.
> It is in the best interests of all of us to support this bill as
> adequately staffed laboratories will enable us to best serve our
> clinical physician colleagues and their patients. Please ask your
> representative in  Congress to  actually cosponsor HR 1948, the Medical
> Laboratory Personnel Shortage Act.
> Advocacy efforts work best when there is a personal relationship
> established  between the constituent and the representative. Therefore,
> we urge you all to make a personal phone call to your U.S.
> Representative in Congress. You can call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at
> (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to the appropriate office. If
> your representative is not available, you can ask to speak to the health
> legislative aid. It may take some persistence to reach your legislator,
> but the time spent making that personal contact will go a long way in
> paving the road for future fruitful interactions.
> In case our members are reluctant to get on the phone and be put on
> hold, or triaged to an aide, here is an option.  There is a website for
> the US Congress, whereby you can make direct contact with your
> representatives.  Even if you don't know who they are, you simply need
> to enter your state and zip code.  The  senators and representatives
> will be displayed.  It has easy point and click  access and you can
> leave an e-mail message.
> U.S. House of Reps:
> U.S. Senate:     


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