Region VIII Director’s Winter Message

Warm Wishes from Holly!


It seems that winter has really hit hard this year across our region. I haven’t seen this much snow and so many sub-zero temps in years! I hope all of you are staying warm and keeping up with snow removal. Snow falling outside is a beautiful sight and the silence that it brings is a welcome change to all the noise going on around us. The snow buffers the noise and blankets the world with a purifying blanket across the landscape. I like to think of all of us in ASCLS acting in a similar way to the snow outside; buffering the noise and working to protect our profession and our families. Together we bring a unified Voice to advocate for our profession. The more members we have, the more unified our voice and the more we can accomplish.


I’m sure you have all seen the news from ASCLS EVP Jim Flanigan announcing that the VA has adjusted their language regarding Certified Nurse Practitioners ordering, performing and/or supervising laboratory studies. The following is the key language explaining the change with emphasis added by Jim in red:

“Several commenters stated that they were concerned with proposed17.415(d)(1)(i)(B), where we stated that a Certified Nurse Practitioner (CNP) mayorder, perform, or supervise laboratory studies. The commenters stated that theproposed language does not “adequately appreciate the levels of complexity involved inlaboratory testing” and that there are rigid standards for laboratory tests that requirerigorous academic and practical training, which are not part of the training for APRNs.Another commenter stated, “While the VHA uses the word ‘interpret’ in reference tolaboratory and imaging studies,” the commenter “…infers that the VA’s intent is to grantthe ability for CNPs to interpret laboratory and imaging results, not to interpret or reportraw images or data.” The commenter suggested that VA amend the term “‘interpret’and recommends instead to use ‘integrate results into clinical decision making,’ or someother phrase” in order to avoid confusion between the duties of an APRN and those of alaboratory specialist. We agree with the commenter in that the proposed languagemight be construed as allowing CNPs the ability to perform laboratory studies. It is notVA’s intent to have APRNs take over the role of laboratory specialists. Thesespecialists perform a crucial role at VA medical facilities and are skillfully trained inperforming the various testing techniques that allow health care professionals toproperly treat a veteran’s medical condition. We are amending proposed 17.415(d)(1)(i)(B) to now state that a CNP may be granted full practice authority to‘Order laboratory and imaging studies and integrate the results into clinical decisionmaking.’”

This is a big ‘win’ for all of us and shows what we can do when we come together with one Voice. We were able to show the VA the importance of our education and training. This issue is still not resolved with CMS so this is still a partial success. Hopefully CMS will follow shortly with the same outcome.

Jim Flanigan reported that he recently visited Washington, DC for three days and met with ASCLS contacts at AACC, ASM, ASCP, AMT, and NILA to see where our federal agendas overlapped, and how we might work together. “Though not every organization aligned on every key topic, there was enough overlap that we should be able to find ways to collaborate as we move into a new Congress and work with a new administration. … I expect that some of the topics we will cover at the legislative symposium will be: PAMA, laboratory workforce, laboratory’s role after ACA reform/repeal-replace, and CLIA modernization. Regulation of Laboratory Developed Tests (LDTs) is likely on the back burner for the FDA, if not dead. It is clear from my discussions with our colleagues in the laboratory community that there is considerable uncertainty. No one is even trying to act like they know what is going on or what is likely to happen.”

A large part of ASCLS success rests on our volunteers. ASCLS has been developing a new on-line template for volunteering to serve on national committees. I anticipate a notice coming out to all members soon with instructions on entering your information to use in applying for volunteer opportunities.  The template is available on the website now. If you are interested in volunteering for an opportunity on a national committee or you know of someone you would like to recommend, go to ASCLS member community and enter your information under Volunteer found in the dark green banner.

Early Bird Registration ends January 13 for the Clinical Laboratory Educators’ Conference (CLEC). CLEC will be held Feb. 23-25 in Boston this year. This is an excellent opportunity to gather with educators across the country and share experiences.

Registration is now open for the Annual Legislative Symposium in Washington D.C., March 20-21. The Hotel block is filling up fast so if you’re planning to attend, make your reservations now. The Legislative Symposium provides a great education on the how-to’s of lobbying. Attendees are coached on presentation techniques so they can effectively talk to their congressional representative during their appointments. They are well received in the congressional offices. Attendees return home from Washington with first-hand knowledge of the political system in action and confidence that they make a difference. The ASCLS Education and Research Fund is making a travel grant available for up to three undergraduate or graduate student ASCLS members to attend the Legislative Symposium in 2017. The I. Dean Spradling Legislative Symposium Student Travel Grant will be awarded up to $1,000. Applications are due January 15, 2017 and can be found on the ASCLS website .

ASCLS has launched the new Learning Management System with the Microbiology Grand Rounds Webinar Series. This series has a long history with CACMLE, and the ASCLS office has been able to secure the assistance of Christie Grueser, who managed the series for CACMLE as a consultant for ASCLS. CACMLE’s self-study courses are migrating from the old CACMLE system to the new ASCLS system and are being reviewed by the P.A.C.E. committee before launching them for credit.



Planning is well underway for 2017 IMSS, September 28-30. I have sent emails out requesting volunteers for the Planning Committee and I am still looking for individuals to fill a few remaining Chair/Co-chair positions. Diane Stumpf has just completed getting the IMSS website up and running and BreeAnn Cossitt will be populating it with all the latest information as we move forward. A big Thank You goes out to Diane and BreeAnn for keeping us up to date! Planning this conference is a great team experience. Jeff Horton, Idaho is our General Chair for 2017 and his committee chairs bring a lot of experience to the conference planning. If you would like to be a part of planning the conference, please let me know or reach out to your State President or Jeff,. The financial report for IMSS 2016 is almost complete and your State Treasurer will be receiving a check for your share soon. Colorado’s Cathy McNary, IMSS General Chair 2016 did a wonderful job keeping expenses down and increasing revenues so you will all be quite pleased when you see your share. Amy Steinmetz, Exhibits Chair from Montana, brought in 39 vendors and 2 instrument trucks which really helped the bottom line and was wonderful for the attendees. The new vendor game that Amy introduced in 2015 has been a huge hit with the vendors and attendees. Keep those great ideas coming!

IMSS is a crucial part of Region VIII and provides revenue to our states. When we moved from an IMSS Coordinating Committee to a Region VIII Planning Committee we tried to modernize the structure to keep up with the times. The Region VIII Council developed a rotational schedule sharing the committees across the 5 states which was a big change from the old method of one state doing all the planning. This means each state is responsible for identifying committee chairs and co-chairs. The rotation is set up so that no state will have more than 2 chairs and 2 co-chairs each year. Filling the chair/co-chair position does not necessarily have to be someone from your state – you can reach out to the other states to identify someone for that position; the important thing is that you are filling that role. If you have not filled your positions for the current IMSS committee roster, please do so as soon as possible to help make IMSS the success we know it can be.


Across our Region, we have many activities going on and spring conference planning is in full force. These spring meetings are an excellent opportunity to come together and reunite with old friends, make new friends, share experiences, problem-solve, and catch up on what’s happening in ASCLS on national, regional and state levels. Mark your calendar to attend the spring conference in your state or in any state in the region. Dates are: Montana, April 6-8 in Bozeman; Idaho, April 20-22 in Idaho Falls; Colorado/Wyoming, May 4-6 in Northglenn. Utah’s meeting date is still to be decided.

Remember to include a Membership Table at your meeting so you can recruit new members and remind current members to renew before the end of July. The spring membership campaign has been changed to take effect beginning May 1 rather than March 1 so a new member joining prior to May 1 will receive proration but their membership expires July 31, 2017. New members joining after May 1 will receive membership through July 31, 2018. Here is the explanation from Andrea Hickey:

  • The spring new member promotion has changed.
    • a new member joins on March 15, 2017-their membership will expire on July 31, 2017.
    •  a new member joins on May 1, 2017-their membership will expire on July 31, 2018.
    • We will now extend memberships to the end of the following membership year beginning May 1st rather than March 1 like it used to be.
    •  Examples:
    • All membership types are included with this promotion.
  • The way we are handling prorating has changed.
    • Currently, we are charging $33 for PF1 and $25 for PF2 members for late fees.
    • Examples
      • As of today, if a PF2 LAPSED member from Louisiana renewed, they would be charged as follows: $45.52 for National Dues + $15 for LA Dues + $25 for the renewal late fee for a grand total of $85.52.
      • As of today, if a NEW member from Louisiana joins as PF2, they would only pay $45.52 for National Dues and $15 for LA Dues.
    • PF1 and PF2 memberships will be prorated beginning Nov 1st of every year. All other membership types are not included.
    • We cannot control having the system only prorate brand new members, so we will assess a “late renewal fee” to renewing members:

If you have any questions about this or anything with Membership, contact Andrea Hickey, or our Region VIII representative to the Membership Committee, Franciszka Wriborg.


The 2016-2017 Region VIII Leadership Academy is in its 4th year and the interns are working on a project that will be very beneficial to our states and region. This year’s interns are Nick Jensen, Montana; Franki-Marie Herdt, Wyoming; and Mechelle Reeve, Idaho. Applications will be coming out soon for the 2017-2018 class. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact our co-coordinators: Susie Zanto, Montana and Joni Gilstrap, Montana.



State Presidents, your interim reports are due to me by February 10. Nominations for Lifetime Achievement, New Professional of the Year and Student Forum Leadership are due by February 15. Omicron Sigma nominations due by March 1. Region VIII Spring Council meeting will be held April 1, 2017 beginning at 9am.

Our five states in Region VIII are the best states in the country! We have incredible leaders in our states and so many opportunities to get involved. If you want to be a part of your Society’s leadership; if you want to be a part of planning meetings and conferences; if you want to hone your leadership skills, this is where you can do just that. Don’t hesitate to contact your State President to volunteer for these opportunities. You can also contact me and I’m happy to connect you with the right person to get you on board.

Welcome, 2017! Thanks to all of you for all you do for ASCLS and for Medical Laboratory Science!


Holly Weinberg, Region VIII Director

State Presidents:



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