ASCLS objects to CMS proposal to let nurses do lab testing

Trade group The American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science sent a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra objecting to a CMS proposal to consider bachelor's degrees in nursing a qualification for high-complexity lab testing.

"Our nursing colleagues can and do play a critical role in point of care testing, and nurses should not be prevented from engaging in clinical laboratory work if they are properly trained," the group said in the Aug. 18 letter, according to a LinkedIn post. "The proposed rule, however, omits any requirement for training and demonstrated competency to perform high complexity testing relative to those who have four-year degrees in clinical laboratory science, chemistry or biology."

The ASCLS said it is "stunned" at what it said was CMS equating waived testing experience as similar to high complexity testing experience, according to the letter. 

"It suggests the authors have not stepped into a clinical laboratory, nor reviewed any of the agency's own reports, nor consulted any of the agency's own experts on the subject," the ASCLS said in the letter.

The proposed rule would provide an opening for healthcare administrators to "abusively" push complex and risky testing onto a nursing workforce already grappling with labor shortages and other resource deficiencies, the group said in the letter. The ASCLS urged CMS to reverse the proposal.

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