Clinical Laboratory Licensure Threatened in Georgia
There is a bill winding its way through the Georgia General Assembly that threatens clinical laboratory licensure in the state. Sponsored by a nurse legislator, the bill HB 994 has had 2 reads.
Ostensibly the intention is to save money. After all, those pesky visits from state inspectors eat up more in terms of employee salaries and other resources than the cash-strapped state can afford. It makes sense to cut cost wherever possible and one always starts with the most disposable or unpopular programs. Alternatively, slash those programs where the constituents are so wimpish or uninterested that they won't protest.
Given the importance of the clinical laboratory in healthcare, I am surprised that this fool-hardy decision is being pushed by a healthcare provider who should know better. Equally disappointing, however, is the fact that contacts within the legislature indicate that letters of protest from clinical laboratorians have been few and far between. Laboratorians have traditionally seen any regulatory oversight as just another financial burden and more work. It is also habitual not to get too excited by changes which are not seen as directly affecting their individual livelihood. "I will still have MY job, so I dont care."
What about patient safety? What about preventing greedy, unqualified entrepreneurs from operating sub-standard laboratories? What about ensuring a minimum in personnel qualification, knowing that CLIA is just a baseline which still allows the hiring of unqualified staff as long as there is skeleton staff of qualified personnel available?
How do you think nurses or pharmacists or physicians would react if their profession was being threatened with deregulation? I think how clinical laboratorians respond in this case -and similar cases- speak volumes about how they feel about themselves and their profession.
Such inactivity and apathy speak volumes to those outside the profession.