ASM Policy efforts focus on communicating the importance of the microbial science to Congress, Federal Agencies and the Public.
Monday, 27 November 2017 10:22

ASM Urges Increased Funding for AMR Programs

The ASM participated in a coalition letter urging Congress to increase funding for programs that address antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and to continue bipartisan support for AMR that reflects the US commitment to infection prevention, antimicrobial stewardship, surveillance and innovation.

ASM joins a letter to Congress opposing provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (HR1) that will increase the financial burden for graduate students.

The ASM sent a letter to Congress as they debate H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act which would exclude tuition waivers and tuition exemptions from income for graduate students. 

The ASM participated in a coalition letter urging Congress to enact a bipartisan budget agreement that raises the spending caps and enables a $36.1 billion investment in National Institutes of Health in FY 2018.

The ASM participated in  a coalition  letter urging Congress to provide emergency supplemental funding for critical public health, healthcare and behavioral health services to address the ongoing crises in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands and other states impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

The ASM signed on to a letter to President Trump regarding the Administration’s immigration policies.  The letter stressed that the signed organizations think that the policies will reduce US science and engineering output and competitiveness.

ASM joined members of the Clinical Laboratory Coalition in a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma asking for input on the data to be used on proposed Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule (CLFS) rates.

The ASM suggests that ACGME recognize the contributions of ABMM certified microbiologists in the education of pathology residents by qualifying them for core faculty status.

The October issue of the Minority Microbiology Mentor Newsletter has been published by the Committee on Microbiological Issues Impacting Minorities.

The ASM joined over 50 health care organizations in a letter to Congressional Leadership asking that they ensure that all members of the health care workforce with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status are able to continue their employment, education, training, and research, with passage of a permanent legislative remedy, such as the bipartisan, bicameral Dream Act of 2017 (S. 1615, H.R. 3440).

Marc Couturier and Laura Filkins, members of the PSAB Committee on Laboratory Practices, authored a document entitled “Cyclospora Detection and Reporting from Clinical Samples” to assist our members in identifying a parasite which has been on the rise in intestinal illnesses.  Cyclospora is not usually detected by a conventional O&P examination but can be detected using modified stains, which are detailed in the document.

Effective October 14, 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) added great ape pathogen Bacillus cereus biovar anthracis as a Tier 1 select agent to the list of select agents and toxins.  This white paper provides information about this organism and suggests ways to identify it.

Thursday, 24 August 2017 07:52

Coalition Letter on NIH F&A Costs

The ASM joined over 100 health care and scientific organizations in a letter to OMB Director Mick Mulvaney and DHHS Secretary Tom Price opposing the Administration’s move to reduce the National Institutes of Health Facilities and Administrative (F&A) cost, also known as indirect costs, by $7.2 billion or 21 percent.  These cuts would undermine NIH biomedical research achievements and would jeopardize future progress.

The August issue of the Minority Microbiology Mentor Newsletter has been published by the Committee on Microbiological Issues Impacting Minorities.

ASM submitted comments to CMS on payment for new codes which will be included in the 2018 Medicare Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule (CLFS). New codes considered included detection of antibiotic resistance genes and new antibody and PCR tests for Zika.

ASM has joined other societies with expertise in diagnostic testing in a letter addressing the Palmetto Draft Local Coverage Determination of Panels Identified by Multiplex Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests (NAATs). Palmetto, a contractor in the Southeast US for the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services, has indicated that it will not reimburse syndromic panels for identification  of respiratory and gastrointestinal pathogens.  ASM and co-signers indicate clear uses of these panels in improving patient care in the letters, submitted on July 20.

As of 11/10/2017, the Medicare Administrative Contractors have not finalized its draft LCDs for respiratory and GI multiplex panel tests. ASM will continue to monitor.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017 10:57

Coalition Letter on FY 2018 Funding for NSF

The ASM signed onto a letter, as a member of the Coalition on National Science Funding (CNSF), to Congress urging them to maintain federal investments in America’s scientific and innovation enterprise.

Christopher Doern and Duane Newton, members of the Public and Scientific Affairs Board, Laboratory Practices Committee authored the white paper “Clinical Utility of Multiplex Tests for Respiratory and Gastrointestinal Pathogens.”  The expanded availability of molecular methods for detection of pathogens directly in clinical specimens is changing the paradigm for diagnosis and management of patients with infectious diseases.  This paper describes the benefits and clinical value of multiplex molecular diagnostic panels. 

The ASM sent a letter to the House Appropriations HHS Subcommittee thanking them for rejecting the 22 percent budget cut for NIH research that was proposed in the President’s budget.  The Subcommittee’s spending bill provides a $1.1 billion increase above the FY 2017 level and includes funding for indirect costs and the Fogarty International Center. 

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