ASM’s Public and Scientific Affairs Board (PSAB) serves as the public policy arm for the Society, reaching out to inform and influence public policy affecting the microbiological sciences, clinical microbiology and public health. The Board interacts with government officials; representatives of industry, including food, drug, health care and environmental sectors; and other organizations, which are concerned with the health, safety, environmental and other issues involving the microbiological sciences. PSAB members and staff monitor key developments that may affect important constituencies within the ASM membership.
Because ASM is a 501 c 3, nonprofit organization, which is exempt from tax, the Society’s political and lobbying activities are restricted by its tax status and no substantial part of ASM revenues can be spent on influencing legislation. Most of the activities of the ASM’s Public and Scientific Affairs Board fall outside the scope and definition of lobbying and consist of providing technical advice to Congress and government agencies upon request. Much of the work of PSAB is educating policymakers and ensuring public policy is based on sound science.
The ASM/PSAB is often asked for its views on public policy issues affecting microbiology. The ASM PSAB discloses activities and expenditures that are defined as lobbying under the 1995 Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA). The LDA requires filing periodic reports with the Secretary of the Senate and Clerk of the House of Representatives and the ASM Office of Public Affairs files these reports. In addition, the ASM Office of Public Affairs complies with the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 (HLOGA) which imposes additional requirements on nonprofit organizations. ASM submits an organization contribution report bi-annually to certify compliance with HLOGA restrictions on gift, meals and travel to members, officers, or employees of Congress and covered Administration officials. The ASM Office of Public Affairs reports all contacts with Congress and the Executive Branch quarterly. The filings include disclosing activities and expenditures that are defined as lobbying in the LDA. Grassroots activities are exempt. However, the LDA defines lobbying activities to include preparation and planning activities that are used in a lobby contact, including work with coalitions.
Below is a summary of ASM’s involvement with organizations and coalitions with participation by PSAB members and staff:
Clinical Laboratory Related Coalitions and Organizations
Clinical Laboratory Coalition
The laboratory organizations came together several years ago to form the Clinical Laboratory Coalition (formerly the Lab Budget Coalition) to monitor budget legislation (i.e. Medicare payment policy) and other issues impacting clinical laboratories. Activities of the Coalition in the past have included sign-on letters and visits to Congress and the Administration opposing co-payments for laboratory tests, opposing competitive bidding proposals, generating support for legislation focused on Medicare laboratory payment policy. ASM staff and members have participated in Coalition organized briefings and “fly-in” days to Capitol Hill to advocate for positive laboratory payment policy issues.
Coalition members include: Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), the American Association of Bioanalysts (AAB), the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC), the American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA), American Medical Technologists (AMT), the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS), the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP), the Clinical Laboratory Management Association (CLMA), the College of American Pathologists (CAP), Roche Diagnostics, Ortho-Diagnositics (J&J), Abbott Laboratories, and Quest Diagnostics.
Laboratory Response Network (LRN)
ASM has been a member of the Laboratory Response Network (LRN) Partners, along with the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other Federal Agencies. The goal of the LRN is to strengthen emergency preparedness and response to bioterrorism among sentinel, public health (reference/confirmatory) and Federal government laboratories, through an evaluation of the existing infrastructure to identify strengths and weaknesses. Jim Snyder is the ASM representative to the LRN Partners.
Laboratory Preparedness Exercise Working Group (LPX)
ASM participates in the Laboratory Preparedness Exercise (LPX) Working Group
with CAP and APHL; the working group reviews and makes changes to the CAP LPX for bioterrorism preparedness. Jim Snyder is also ASM’s representative to this group.
Coordinating Council on the Clinical Laboratory Workforce (CCCLW)
ASM has worked with ASCP, ASCLS, CLMA and other organizations on laboratory workforce issues. ASM participates in the Coordinating Council on the Clinical Laboratory Workforce coalition (CCCLW), which specifically focuses on clinical lab workforce issues http://ccclw.org/default.aspx. Vickie Baselski is the ASM representative to the CCCLW.
Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI)
ASM is a voting member of the Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) and assists with the drafting and review of microbiology laboratory standards via the Area Committee on Microbiology and the Subcommittee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility. Susie Sharp is ASM’s delegate to the CLSI; Stephen Cavalieri is ASM’s alternate delegate.
US Pharmacopeia (USP)
ASM has an appointed delegate to the US Pharmacopeia Convention, a nongovernmental, official public standards setting authority for prescription and over-the-counter medicines and other healthcare products manufactured or sold in the United States. Alice Weissfeld as ASM’s official delegate to the USP Convention and has been involved in the drafting of standards for compounding sterile products.
The FDA Roundtable is an adhoc group of laboratory groups and professional societies that are interested in device issues and regulatory matters governed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Groups meet with FDA staff as needed to discuss issues of interest. Organizations who have participated in the past include ASCLS, AACC, ACLA, ASCP, AAB, APHL, CLMA, Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp.
Pathology Coding Caucus (PCC)
The Pathology Coding Caucus (PCC) makes coding recommendations on new clinical laboratory tests to the American Medical Association (AMA). The AMA is responsible for official Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) coding, the most widely accepted medical nomenclature used to report medical procedures and services under private and public health insurance programs, including Medicare. There are approximately 10 organizational members of the PCC; the College of American Pathologists coordinates the PCC. Vickie Baselski is the ASM representative on the caucus.
Joint Commission’s Laboratory Professional Technical Advisory Committee (PTAC) ASM is a member of the Joint Commission’s Laboratory Professional Technical Advisory Committee (PTAC), which provides input on the Joint Commission’s laboratory accreditation program in accordance with CLIA. Yvette McCarter is ASM’s primary representative to the Lab PTAC and Susie Sharp is the alternate representative.
Lab Tests OnLine
ASM has been an active participant in Lab Tests Online (http://www.labtestsonline.org), a web site generated by AACC to assist health care consumers with information about various clinical laboratory tests. Roberta Carey has been the ASM representative for this project. Several other organizations interested in laboratory testing including ASCP, ASCLS and CLMA have been involved with this project.
National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week (NMLPW)
ASM is a sponsor of NMLPW, a public relations campaign that celebrates and promotes clinical laboratory professions, recognizes and honors the contributions of medical laboratory personnel and recognizes their essential role in the detection, diagnosis and treatment of disease; and educates the public about clinical laboratory work. (http://www.ascp.org/mainmenu/laboratoryprofessionals/labweek.aspx). ASCP is the coordinating society; other participating organizations include AACC, CAP, ASCLS, ASC, CLMA, NSH, AMT, AABB, ASHI and APHL.
Results for Life
ASM was an initial sponsor of the Results for Life campaign http://www.labresultsforlife.org/, a public relations initiative created by the American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA), focused on the value of laboratory testing. The campaign highlights compelling stories of people who have triumphed over disease and it offers valuable information to help Americans take steps to preserve and protect their health. The information is also available to policymakers.
Laboratory Health Care Coalition (LHCC)
ASM was a member of the now defunct Laboratory Health Care Coalition (LHCC), formerly known as the Partnership. The LHCC was organized to develop a public education effort highlighting the contributions of clinical laboratory testing to the health of individuals. It was also organized to create a mechanism for initiating outcomes research and other analyses in a collaborative effort that may provide policymakers, third party payers, health care providers and the general public data quantifying the impact of laboratory information as it relates to delivery of quality medical care and health maintenance. The coalition commissioned Dr. Michael Pine to study “Cost-Effectiveness of Using Laboratory Data in the Management of Risk, Cost and Outcomes of Medical Care.” This study, commonly referred to as the “Pine Project,” established a statistical model to demonstrate the use of laboratory tests as a predictor of future costs in disease management, with a focus on diabetes. Another project of the coalition was a study conducted by Dr. Frank Lichtenberg on the econometric value of innovations in laboratory testing. Coalition members included ASCLS, ACLA, ASCP, AACC, Ortho-Diagnostics, Abbott Laboratories and Roche Diagnostics. Roberta Carey was the ASM representative for this Coalition.
Public Health Coalitions and Organizations
Coalition for Health Funding
ASM is a member of the Coalition for Health Funding, a coalition of over 60 members that advocates for federal discretionary funding of public health programs including NIH, CDC, and FDA.
ASM participates in the CDC Coalition, which advocates for increased CDC funding.
Campaign for Public Health
ASM is a member of the Campaign for Public Health, which advocates for increased CDC funding.
ASM has also worked collaboratively with APHL and other public health related organizations such as the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), the American Public Health Association (APHA), the Association for Professionals in Infection Control (APIC), and Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) on public health policy issues pertaining to bioterrorism, tuberculosis, CDC funding, food safety, and antimicrobial resistance.
Recently, ASM was asked to appoint a member representative to the newly re-formed National Laboratory System (NLS). This activity, coordinated by the CDC and APHL, will examine how public and private sector clinical laboratories can best interact to provide quality, cost-effective data for both public health and individual patient use. Janice Matthews-Greer is ASM’s representative.
Research Coalitions and Organizations
Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research Funding
ASM is a member of the Ad Hoc Group, which consists of over 250 organizations and speaks as a broad, unified voice to advocate for federal funding for biomedical research.
ASM is a founding member of Research!America, a coalition focused on building public awareness to increase public resources for medical research. Members include voluntary health agencies, societies, colleges and universities, corporations, associations, foundations and philanthropists.
Coalition on Funding Agricultural Research Missions (CoFARM)
ASM is a member of the Coalition on Funding Agricultural Research Missions (CoFARM), which is focused on advancing and sustaining an investment in our nation’s fundamental and applied agricultural research funded by USDA.
Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Coalition (AFRI)
ASM is a member of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Coalition, a partnership of approximately 30 scientific societies and science advocacy organizations with diverse research interests, who support a full appropriation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).
Coalition for National Science Foundation Funding (CNSF)
ASM participates in the Coalition for National Science Foundation Funding (CNSF), which advocates for increased research funding at the National Science Foundation.
National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR)
ASM is a member of NABR, which advocates the vital role of laboratory animals in the search to relieve suffering and save lives. The coalition, made up of over 350 organizations, represents the scientific community in national policy making which affects the use of animals in biomedical research, education and product safety testing and provides a unified voice for researchers to communicate with government officials and the media.
Washington Animal Research Network (WARN)
ASM staff meet with WARN organizations to discuss animal research issues.
Friends of VA Research
ASM is a member of the Friends of Veterans Administration (VA) Research coalition and endorses an annual funding booklet that supports increases in the VA research budget.
Council of Academic Societies (CAS)
ASM is a member of CAS, which is dedicated to improving the quality of medical education and training. Over 90 societies representing the professional fields of medicine and the biomedical sciences participate.
Supporters of Agricultural Research (SOAR)
Supporters of Agricultural Research (SOAR) is a new non-partisan science-based coalition seeking sound research policies that focus more of our best minds on feeding America and the world.
Association of Systematic Collections (ASC)
ASM is a member of ASC, which promotes resources for systematics collections and training for people in taxonomical research. The ASC is also interested in biodiversity. Over 75 organizations participate, consisting mainly of universities and museums.
DC Biosecurity Forum
ASM staff participates in a forum that meets to discuss biosecurity issues.
Energy Sciences Coalition
ASM is a member of the Energy Sciences Coalition, which shares information and letters on Department Of Energy issues.
Science and Technology Working Group (SETWG)
ASM participates in the SETWG, a multi-disciplinary coalition that raises visibility and support for science.
IOM Forums on Microbial Threats and Drug Discovery, Development and Translation
ASM participates in the IOM forums that discuss related policy issues.