ASCP Secures Win for Florida Cytotechnologists

Legislative Update Date: 
22 Dec 2010

The American Society for Clinical Pathology scored an important victory for Florida’s cytotechnologists, securing the ability of cytotechnologists in Florida to perform Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and Fluorescent in situ Hybridization (FISH) testing.  On December 3rd, the Florida Board of Clinical Laboratory Personnel unanimously ruled that licensed cytotechnologists may perform both HPV and FISH testing.  In pursuing this advocacy goal ASCP worked in concert with its federated partner, the American Society for Cytopathology.


The issue came about when a major hospital system in Florida, concerned that the regulations governing the cytotechnologist scope of practice may not allow HPV testing, sought guidance from the Board on the matter.  In advance of the December 3rd Board meeting, ASCP contacted the Board’s leadership to discuss the issue, urging that not only should cytotechnologists be authorized to perform HPV but that they should be authorized to perform FISH as well.  During these discussions and in a subsequent letter to the Board, ASCP argued that the Florida Board’s regulations governing the cytotechnologist scope of practice was “sufficiently broad and flexible to allow licensed cytotechnologists to perform molecular [testing] without the need for additional regulations.” 


To support our argument, ASCP provided a copy of a letter ASCP wrote to the Board in 2008 that was the basis for an important Board ruling clarifying that “flow cytometry and molecular detection techniques” may be performed by individuals who can demonstrate they have appropriate training or experience and are licensed in the appropriate specialty/category.


In deciding the issue, the Florida Board unanimously agreed that it was within the scope of practice for cytotechnologists to perform HPV/FISH tests.  The Florida Board’s Legal Counsel will be issuing an order to that effect from the State Attorney General's Office within the next couple of weeks.