Published October 23, 2018
Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stopped reporting wage and employment data on medical laboratory scientists/technologists (MLSs) and medical laboratory technicians (MLTs), a category which includes Histotechnicians (HTs) and Histotechnologists (HTLs). Instead, the Bureau began aggregating its data, providing only that data that reflects broadly on the laboratory profession.
BLS data is used by scores of users for numerous purposes. Laboratory professionals use the data to get a better sense of how their wages compare with their field and with other healthcare practitioners, like nursing. Employers use the data to budget and set wage rates for their employees.
BLS's new wage estimates don't allow current or future laboratory professionals to assess their compensation relative to their occupational category. The BLS numbers could also result in downward pressure on MLS wages and MLTs might compare their actual wages to the BLS's combined MLS/MLT estimated wage and be led to believe their wages should be higher. Both of these events could leave laboratory professionals disillusioned, possibly even seeking new careers. It may also complicate the ability of clinical laboratories to hire and retain skilled laboratory professionals.
These scenarios could also affect HTL/HT professionals. This isn't good for patients, and it's not good for the laboratory profession as it is not accurate reporting.
The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) is urging any lab professionals who are concerned about the new BLS reporting standards to contact the BLS through ASCP's advocacy center.