Summary of Laboratory Workforce Legislation

The Medical Laboratory Personnel Shortage Act of 2005

Summary: The Medical Laboratory Personnel Shortage Act of 2005 (H.R. 1175), introduced by Representatives John Shimkus (R-IL), Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL), and Michael Bilirakis (R-FL), responds to the clinical laboratory workforce shortage by expanding eligibility for the National Health Service Corps Scholarship and Loan Repayment Program to medical technologists and medical laboratory technicians. The bill also increases funding for the Title VII Allied Health Project Grants program (administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration [HRSA] of the Department of Health and Human Services [DHHS]) and adds a preference for awarding grants to those programs that increase the number of individuals trained as medical laboratory personnel. Furthermore, the bill requires the Secretary of DHHS to issue public service announcements that promote medical laboratory personnel careers. The bill aims to increase the number of cytologists with respect to cervical cancer screening through programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and also aims to increase the number of medical laboratory personnel through programs administered by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Status: H.R. 1175 was introduced on March 8, 2005 and was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health. It has 51 co-sponsors. The bill was originally introduced as H.R. 1948 in the 107th Congress (May 22, 2001). 

ASM Letter of Support - On  April 27, 2005, ASM sent a letter of support to Representative Shimkus, after the legislation was introduced in the 109th Congress.

Allied HealthReinvestment Act

Summary: The Allied HealthReinvestment Act (H.R. 215), introduced by Representative Cliff Stearns (R-FL), requires the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to issue public service announcements that promote the allied health professions. The legislation also provides grants to state and local organizations to support state and local advertising campaigns that promote and highlight the advantages and rewards of the allied health professions. Furthermore, the legislation provides scholarships to students who agree to serve as allied health professionals in health care facilities where shortages occur. It also proposes that the DHHS Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) enter into agreements with higher education institutions that expand enrollment in allied health professions programs, develop and implement internship and residency programs, provide education in new technologies (i.e. distance learning), and develop grant awards to institutions that promote the development of bachelor’s master’s and doctoral degree programs for allied health professions faculty. The legislation creates an allied health professions faculty loan repayment program in order to increase the number of qualified allied health professions faculty. The legislation also directs the DHHS Secretary to establish the Council on Health Profession Education in HRSA in order to monitor the status of the allied health professions workforce and to make annual reports to Congress. Note: “Allied health professions” is defined in the legislation to include clinical laboratory science and medical technology.

Status: H.R. 215 was introduced on January 4, 2005 and was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health. There are 41 co-sponsors.
 
Allied Health Reinvestment Act

Summary: The Allied Health Reinvestment Act (S. 473) was introduced by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and requires the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to develop public services announcements to promote the allied heath professions and highlight the advantages and rewards of the allied health professions. The legislation also proposes to award grants to entities that will support state and local advertising campaigns promoting the allied health professions. The legislation creates an allied health recruitment grant program that supports outreach programs at elementary and secondary schools, as well as programs that increase allied health education opportunities for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. The purpose of the allied health recruitment program is to provide assistance to public and nonprofit private education institutions that support remedial education for allied health students who require assistance in the math and sciences; and that support community based partnerships seeking to recruit allied health professions in rural and medically underserved communities. In addition, the legislation awards grants to institutions or entities that form education pipelines to assist the entry of students from secondary education into allied health careers. The legislation provides grants to entities that expand and retain the enrollment of individuals in allied health education programs, with emphasis on the enrollment of underrepresented racial and ethnic minority students. The legislation also awards grants to entities that carry our demonstration programs using models and best practices in allied health. And, the legislation creates an allied health faculty loan repayment program as well as a scholarship program for those individuals who agree to serve in rural and other medically underserved areas upon graduation. The legislation proposes that the activities stated above be administered by the DHHS Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

Status: S. 473 was introduced on February 28, 2005, has 8 co-sponsors and was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, and Pensions.

The Public Health Preparedness Workforce Development Act of 2005

Summary: The Public Health Preparedness Workforce Development Act of 2005 (S. 506) proposes to eliminate shortages in the public health workforce, including laboratory sciences, by creating a new Title VII Public Health Scholarship and Public Health Loan Repayment program, administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Scholarships are awarded to individuals who are enrolled in a course of study or program leading to a health professions degree in laboratory sciences, epidemiology, environmental health, health communications, health education and behavioral sciences, information science or public administration. Scholarships are contingent on agreement to serve a Federal, State, local or tribal public health agency upon completion of the course of study. The legislation proposes the creation of a loan repayment program. Eligible individuals must be accepted for enrollment or be enrolled in the final year of a course of study leading to a health professions degree, or, have graduated within 10 years from an accredited educational institution and received a health professions degree in the fields stated above. Eligible individuals must also have accepted employment or be employed by a Federal, State, local or tribal public health agency. In addition, the legislation requires the DHHS Secretary to award grants to public health agencies that receive public health preparedness cooperative agreements to operate State, local and tribal public health workforce loan repayment programs.

Status: S. 506 was introduced by Senator Chuck Hagel on March 3, 2005, and was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. The legislation has 11 co-sponsors.

Global Health Corps Act of 2005

Summary: The Global Health Corps Act of 2005 (S. 850) was introduced by Senator William Frist (R-TN) and proposes the establishment of an “Office of the Global Health Corps” within the Office of the Secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The new office would focus on improving the health, welfare and development of communities in foreign countries and regions through the provision of health care personnel, items and related services. The Global Health Corps Office would be responsible for expanding the availability of health personnel and related services to select foreign countries and promoting United States diplomacy in those countries. The Office would be responsible for managing and administering the Global Health Corps personnel, and for coordinating the health services provided by the Corps in foreign countries. The legislation proposes that the Global Health Corps be made up of employees of the Federal Government, Peace Corps volunteers, and volunteers not already employed by either the Federal Government or Peace Corps, in addition to the Corps Office Director and staff, and anyone determined by the Global Health Corps Director deemed appropriate.

Note: the bill does not specifically state “clinical laboratory personnel” in its description of trained health care professionals, practitioners or individuals, however, there is a provision which does allow the Secretary of DHHS to consider “other” professionals that meet certain educational requirements and who are “deemed to be appropriate” for the Global Health Corps.

Status: S. 850 was introduced on April 19, 2005 and referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. The bill has 4 co-sponsors.

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