Tennessee SB0318/HB0328 will exempt medical laboratory personnel employed by privately owned laboratories from licensure requirements, while they are performing  work in the medical laboratory.

Without the personnel licensure law, CLIA personnel requirements will apply:

  • Personnel performing moderately complex testing will be required to have a high school degree.
  • Personnel performing high complexity testing will be required to have an associate degree with 24 semester hours of science.
  • No medical laboratory science educational program is required.
  • No national laboratory certification is required, except in Cytopathology.

This bill puts the health of all Tennessee citizens at risk due to the likelihood of increased medical errors and inaccurate laboratory test results.

Laboratory data is involved in 70% of all medical decisions.

Potential issues with laboratories staffed with unlicensed personnel:

  • Increased error rate and unreliable results due to inability to appropriately validate test methods, maintain calibration, troubleshoot instrument issues, and problem solve testing issues.
  • No legal basis to prevent staff from practicing for incompetency, impairment or conviction of a felony.
  • Increased patient safety issues relating to laboratory testing.
  • Inability to respond appropriately to a public health emergency.

ASCLS-TN requests that you contact your Tennessee Senator and Representative immediately to educate the legislators to the risk to the public should this bill be adopted.  You have the expertise to explain the many problems that would occur should individuals with no formal laboratory education attempt to operate the instrumentation in today’s medical laboratories.  You can describe how inaccurate laboratory results can result in misdiagnosis, ineffective treatment, misleading genetic test information – all leading to patient harm.

To find the names of your legislators, go to wapp.capitol.tn.gov.  Select ‘Legislators’ from the drop down and look for the ‘Find My Legislator’ section.  If you email, please don’t copy this information; instead, use the information and personalize the message as to why this legislation would be detrimental to the citizens in your area.

Legislators want to hear from the constituents who live in their local districts about the impact of pending legislation.  Please share this information with your colleagues and ask them to contact their legislators. The more people we can contact the better.