NYS Legislative Update
In the last few weeks there has been a lot of activity on the legislative front in NYS. As a recap, a law (Article 165) requiring licensing of all clinical laboratory personnel was passed by the NYS legislation and went into effect in September of 2006 (please visit http://www.op.nysed.gov/clp-cltlic.htm for specific details). Unfortunately, histologists did not have representation on the board that crafted the license nor did we have lobbyists working for our interests. As a result there is no language describing the scope of practice for histologists, no distinction between technician and technologist and no provision for academic training requirements (curriculum).
In the last 2 weeks, the NYS Department of Health submitted a legislative “fix” proposal that was attached to then Governor Spitzer’s budget proposal. This was removed because it was not considered a budgetary item. However, the New York State Education Department then made a similar “fix” proposal and attached it to the budget proposal. This addressed many different issues that the NYSHS and others have claimed make the current law (Article 165) flawed. This included a half-hearted attempt to rectify the “histology” issue by creating a “non-licensed, certified, histotechnician” category similar to what the Department of Health had originally proposed. However, the proposal outlined a specific “scope of practice” for histologists that was too narrow and restrictive. The NYSHS immediately reached out to contacts, including CAP, and voiced our disapproval. The proposal was poorly written, addressed issues haphazardly and contained many mistakes. If passed, it would have had a detrimental affect on our profession in NYS, now and in the future. Fortunately, the Senate and Assembly decided to pull the SED proposal from the budget.
Since expiration of the budget deadline on 4/4/08, legislators are scrambling to get the budget passed and this issue has been placed aside. Nevertheless, The NYSHS does not want 11th hour fixes! Last minute legislative actions tend not to be well designed. The NYSHS wants both short and long term issues addressed. To this end, we are meeting with key members of both the NYS Assembly and Senate committees on health and higher education. Our goal is to clearly define the “scope of practice” for both histotechnician and histotechnologist and to craft legislation that addresses the need for a distinct educational curriculum that provides for the future training of histologists.
Most importantly, we need your help. We need to show strength in numbers, so please visit the New York State website at: http://www.nyhisto.org/index.htm.We also have a message board to keep everyone up to date because things are changing very quickly. To subscribe to the message board, please visit the NYSHS website or http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/NYSHS1972/
If you have any additional questions, please feel free to email the NYS licensing taskforce at: firstname.lastname@example.org