CHICAGO -- The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Board of Registry (BOR) and the National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel (NCA) on July 21, signed an agreement forming a single certification agency for medical laboratory professionals. The agency will be called the ASCP Board of Certification (BOC). The agreement is effective on Friday, Oct. 23, 2009. At that time, the NCA will be dissolved as a corporation.
Kathleen Becan-McBride, MT(ASCP), BOR chair; and Susan Morris, CLS(NCA), NCA president, announced the agreement at the 2009 Annual Meeting of the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science in Chicago.
"Unity in the clinical laboratory profession will bring more recognition and respect from the public and other healthcare professions," Becan-McBride said. "We will increase our credibility when advocating for the profession on legislative and regulatory issues that impact our practice."
Morris said a single credential and single standard of qualification will simplify entry into the profession for new graduates. "Likewise, employers will find it easier to set standards for entry level competency that will ensure patient safety," she added.
ASCP BOR Executive Director E. Blair Holladay, PhD, SCT(ASCP)CM, commended the work of the negotiation teams, examination committees, and the participating organizations' boards and staff.
"This process to achieve a single certification agency took 4 years and involved many hours of negotiation, consideration of many different models, careful deliberation and due diligence, and a determination to make this work for the profession," Dr. Holladay added.
"We knew going into these discussions it would take time, leadership and great care to create a new, unified Board of Certification that combined the best of both certification organizations," Morris said.
Sheila O'Neal, NCA executive director, said much of the negotiation process focused on creating a newly reorganized board structure and composition, and on resolving variances in policies between the two organizations. "None of that could be announced before now because we have been busy coming to agreement," she said. "Now we will roll up our sleeves and start the operational work."
The BOC Board of Governors will be composed of five ASCP Fellows (pathologists), five ASCP laboratory professionals, four representatives of ASCLS, two representatives of the Association of Genetic Technologists, eight representatives from the eight participating societies respectively, and one public representative.
The "ASCP" suffix will be attached to all BOC certifications. Current and active certifications will be transferred to the ASCP BOC; no examination will be required for the transfer. Medical technologists (MT) and clinical laboratory scientists (CLS) will be called Medical Laboratory Scientists (MLS). The designation will be MLS(ASCP).
More information and answers to frequently asked questions about the ASCP BOC will be posted at www.ascp.org/bor and www.nca-info.org. For more coverage on the merger and the AACC, ASCLS meetings, visit www.advanceweb.com/mlp.
-Source: National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel, American Society for Clinical Pathology