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Position Statements

2012 APHL Hill Day Meeting
APHL Position Statements

​APHL position statements articulate the informed opinion of members on issues affecting public health laboratory practice and policy.

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Environmental Health

Policy Regarding EPA Designation of SDWA Principal State Laboratories: Approved April 2013
Encourages states to continue to designate state laboratories as Principal State Laboratories under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Government laboratories serve unique roles within the regulatory framework that should not be transferred to the private sector.

Additional Drinking Water Contaminant Monitoring Essential for a Healthy Public: Approved December 2012
Recommends that APHL's federal and state partners work with environmental and public health laboratories to implement expanded monitoring programs to safeguard the health of all Americans.

Non-Governmental Accrediting Bodies for Environmental Laboratories: Approved August 2012
Supports the ongoing role and responsibility of government in the accreditation of environmental laboratories, and therefore opposes privatization of environmental laboratory accreditation. Although there is a role for third-party assessors at environmental laboratories, they must participate in the regulatory program with the oversight of government agencies.

Biomonitoring: Approved March 2010
To realize public health gains from the initial federal investment in biomonitoring, additional federal funding should be made available to thoroughly integrate analytical testing, exposure assessment and clinical outcomes.

An Interoperable and Integrated Federal Data Exchange Network for Environmental and Environmental Health Data: Approved March 2010
Supports implementation of an inter-operable and standards-based federal data network for laboratories so that data providers and data users can integrate their data submissions or requests among exchange networks to improve routine reporting and homeland security responsiveness. The data submission formats need to be flexible so they can be shared with multiple users, deliver associated laboratory quality control information and allow automated data review.

Food Safety

Use of Non-Culture Assays to Detect Foodborne Infectious Agents: Approved February 2012
Advocates that all positive results from non-culture assays used by clinical laboratories to detect foodborne disease agents of public health concern be confirmed through culture-based identification methods, with a focus on increasing specimen submissions to public health laboratories.

Contribution of State and Local Laboratories in Development of Federal Food Safety Policy: Approved April 2007
States that APHL needs to have representation on food safety coordinating groups, since state laboratories form the backbone of national food safety capacity.

PulseNet and Foodborne Disease Surveillance: A Critical National Priority: Approved April 2007
Recommends that HHS elevate PulseNet laboratory and associated epidemiology activities to a higher level in its food safety priorities and fund the program accordingly.

Infectious Diseases 

Combating Public Health Threats Using Advanced Technology: Approved May 2014
This position statement supports the Advanced Molecular Detection and Response to Infectious Disease Outbreaks Initiative. Moving forward with this initiative enables public health laboratories to obtain the critical tools necessary to provide their invaluable service to meet the nation’s current and future public health needs.

Improving Biosafety in our Nation's Laboratories: Approved February 2012
The biosafety of the nation's laboratories should be accomplished by developing consensus standards for construction and operation, by reporting exposure events, by identifying true risk and best practices and by implementing standardized training instead of implementing additional, formal and costly oversight.

HIV Rapid Testing: Approved February 2012
Supports rapid HIV testing in settings where turn-around time dictates immediate patient management decisions and where clients often do not return for testing results. This support is predicated upon the implementation of a comprehensive quality assurance program at the testing site, to include but not be limited to appropriate training, quality control and competency evaluation.

Increase in TB Funding for Public Health Laboratories: Approved February 2012
Supports increased federal funding for tuberculosis (TB) control that includes specific support for public health laboratories in order to ensure and enhance diagnostic capability and training for laboratorians and public health personnel leading to improved prevention, control, testing and treatment.

Technology Transfer from Federal Agencies to Public Health Laboratories: Approved February 2012
States that standardized methods for screening, testing and confirmation for agents of emergent public health significance require the rapid development and transfer of technology and expertise from federal agencies to public health laboratories that serve as the first line of defense.

Informatics 

Consolidation of Information Technology Services: Approved December 2012
Advocates for formal agreements between IT leaders and laboratory leaders to assure
successful efficient informatics implementations, networking and interoperability between PHL jurisdictions.

Newborn Screening

Policy Regarding Newborn Screening Residual Dried Blood Spot Specimens: Approved August 2013
Supports policies on the retention and use of residual dried blood spot (DBS) specimens
that are transparent, protect privacy, address parental concerns, and promote education and informed public participation.

Newborn Contingency Planning: Approved December 2011
Recognizes that all state newborn screening (NBS) systems should have a Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) that ensures minimal or no interruption of services.

Newborn Screening Follow-up: Approved December 2011
Acknowledges and endorses the follow-up considerations previously published by the American Academy of Pediatrics Newborn Screening Task Force, the Council of Regional Networks for Genetic Services regarding newborn screening systems and Clinical and Laboratory Standard Institute.

Parental Consent for Newborn Screening:  Approved December 2011
Supports the position that state-mandated newborn screening (NBS) should not require parental consent. If state programs elect to utilize the process of informed consent or dissent for screening, such parental consent or dissent should be clearly documented and maintained as part of the infant’s NBS record.

Quality Assurance in the Newborn Screening Laboratory: Approved December 2011
Recognizes the intense efforts to assure and sustain the highest quality of testing possible for newborn screening (NBS) for public health programs. Strongly supports the tenets of continuous quality improvement through internal and external quality assurance activities.

The Role of the Private Sector Laboratory in Public Health Newborn Screening Programs: Approved December 2011
Supports the position that there is a role for private sector laboratories in the provision of state public health newborn screening (NBS) services.

Performance Standards

Strengthening the Laboratory System Improvement Program: Approved August 2012.
Supports strengthening of the Laboratory System Improvement Program (L-SIP), which will help fulfill the data requirements for Healthy People 2020 Objective 23-13 “Increase the proportion of tribal and State health agencies that provide or assure comprehensive laboratory services to support essential public health laboratory services.”

Public Health Preparedness and Response

The Need for a Quality Assurance Program for Kits and Devices Used in the Field to Screen for
Hazardous Biological and Chemical Warfare Agents
: Approved March 2013
Opposes the use of biological and chemical warfare agent screening kits and devices for use in the field in the absence of a federally-approved quality assurance program, which encompasses performance verification, field validation, proficiency testing, training and annual competency assessment in the application of these kits and devices.

The Need for Sustained Funding of Public Health Laboratories to Ensure All-Hazard Preparedness: Approved February 2012
Essential that public health laboratories receive sustained funding to acquire and maintain the sophisticated instrumentation, highly trained technical staff and essential infrastructure necessary to ensure their ability to respond to all-hazard emergencies quickly and reliably at any time.

Standardized Validation of Screening Kits and Devices for Use in the Field to Identify Hazardous Biological and Chemical Agents: Approved February 2007
Opposes the use of biological and chemical agent detection kits and devices for field testing in the absence of performance standardization, field validation and certified individuals trained in the application of these kits and devices.

Workforce

Harmonize/Standardize Basic Personnel Standards to Support Workforce Development: Approved January 2013
State and local public health, environmental and agricultural laboratories (PHEALs) and their human resources departments must revise or update their laboratories’ structural personnel standards (i.e., job titles and definitions, job classifications, minimum qualifications, career paths) to help ensure that PHEALs can better recruit, retain and promote their scientific and technical workforce.

Public Health Laboratory Workforce Shortage: Approved January 2013
Supports immediate and continuing actions required to provide and sustain a workforce pipeline producing competent public health, environmental and agricultural laboratory (PHEAL) scientists, managers and directors needed to monitor, detect and control deadly diseases and environmental hazards.

Psychological Evaluations of Governmental Public Health Laboratory Professionals are Unnecessary: Approved June 2009
Opposes requiring psychological assessments of workers in governmental public health laboratory professionals who are registered with the federal government’s National Select Agent Registry Program.


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