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ASCP and California Society of Pathologists Join Forces to Strengthen Advocacy, Education, and Membership

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) and the California Society of Pathologists (CSP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) effective March 1 to collaborate on education, advocacy, and membership initiatives that will mutually benefit the pathologists and laboratory professionals who belong to the Societies. The MOU’s goal is for each organization to gain a better understanding of the needs of the organization’s members to maximize advantage of their respective expertise and find and develop their synergies.

“ASCP and CSP will work together to strengthen academic training programs and advocacy for our members and the entire laboratory profession.”
— ASCP President C. Bruce Alexander, MD, FASCP 
“ASCP and CSP will work together to strengthen academic training programs and advocacy for our members and the entire laboratory profession,” said ASCP President C. Bruce Alexander, MD, FASCP. “This alliance is a proactive partnership serving the profession at the state and national levels. Engaged practitioners show greater commitment to patient-centered pathology.”

CSP is dedicated to providing a voice for pathologists to legislators and regulatory policymakers. The Society also hosts the CSP Annual Education Meeting, which is now recognized nationally for its high quality continuing medical education for pathologists. ASCP’s mission is to advance excellence in education, certification, and advocacy on behalf of patients, pathologists, and laboratory professionals.

“With the dramatic changes occurring in health care at the national and state levels, it’s important that our Societies work together and help each other,” said CSP President Peter Kolbeck, MD. “CSP does a lot of work in Sacramento [California’s state capitol] on legislative and regulatory issues as ASCP does in Washington, D.C. The members of both organizations can influence government entities, so impending changes in patient care enhance rather than adversely affect the practice of laboratory medicine.”

Some immediate opportunities for collaboration include CSP providing ASCP with an educational forum to discuss global outreach and an informational forum to disseminate pertinent news at its Annual Meeting every year in December; direct communications between CSP and ASCP on issues related to California legislation and regulations; and potential development of a regional meeting co-sponsored by CSP and ASCP. Additionally, ASCP and CSP will explore mutual and reciprocal membership development activities.

“ASCP wants to strengthen our alliances with state organizations that desire to influence the scope of pathology and laboratory medicine,” said ASCP Executive Vice President Dr. Blair Holladay. “State pathology organizations need a strong umbrella organization, and every national organization needs powerful support at the grassroots level. The collaboration of ASCP and CSP is a win-win arrangement.”

“California serves as a petri dish for determining what will happen in the rest of the country,” said CSP Executive Director Bob Achermann, JD. “Our collaboration with ASCP is significant for the members of both Societies.”

The Societies’ mutual interests include how to fund molecular diagnostics, the impact to the profession on releasing laboratory results directly to patients, and laboratory reimbursement. Nationally, Accountable Care Organizations will be strongly affected by what happens in the individual states, especially large, influential states.