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Medical technologist

A medical laboratory scientist (MLS) (also referred to as a medical technologist, a clinical scientist, or clinical laboratory technologist) is a healthcare professional who performs chemical, hematological, immunologic, microscopic, and bacteriological diagnostic analyses on body fluids such as blood, urine, sputum, stool, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), peritoneal fluid, pericardial fluid, and synovial fluid, as well as other specimens. Medical laboratory scientists work in clinical laboratories as well as hospitals, physician’s offices, reference labs, biotechnology labs and non-clinical industrial labs.

In the United States, a medical laboratory scientist (MLS), medical technologist (MT) or clinical laboratory scientist (CLS, California only) typically earns a bachelor’s degree in clinical laboratory science, biomedical science, medical technology or in a life / biological science (biology, biochemistry, microbiology, etc.), in which case certification from an accredited training program is also required. Medical technologists who are certified and in good standing by a number of certification bodies, including the National Medical Laboratory Science Council or the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) are entitled to use the credential “MLS” after their names.

Subspecialties also requiring a four-year degree include cytotechnologists, who study cells and cellular anomalies, and histotechnologists, who work on the detection of tissue abnormalities and the treatment for the diseases causing the abnormalities.

In addition, there are also medical laboratory technicians (MLTs) who earn two-year degrees plus certification.

In the United States, the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA ’88) define the level of qualification required to perform tests of various complexity. Clinical laboratory scientists, medical technologists and medical laboratory scientists are the highest level of qualification, and are generally qualified to perform the most complex clinical testing including HLA testing (also known as tissue typing) and blood type reference testing.

Most medical technologists are generalists, skilled in all areas of the clinical laboratory. However some are specialists, qualified by unique undergraduate education or additional training to perform more complex analyses than usual within a specific field. Specialties include clinical biochemistry, hematology, coagulation, microbiology, bacteriology, toxicology, virology, parasitology, mycology, immunology, immunohematology (blood bank), histopathology, histocompatibility, cytopathology, genetics, cytogenetics, electron microscopy, and IVF labs.

Medical technologists with such a specialty may use additional credentials, such as “SBB” (Specialist in Blood Banking) from the American Association of Blood Banks, or “SH” (Specialist in Hematology) from the ASCP.

In the United States, Medical Laboratory Scientists can be certified and employed in infection control. These professionals monitor and report infectious disease findings to help limit iatrogenic and nosocomial infections. They may also educate other healthcare workers about such problems and ways to minimize them.

Fla. Lab Sells to Labcorp, But Keeps Nursing Homes

CEO SUMMARY: Vista Clinical Diagnostics of Clermont, Fla., is betting big on the nursing home sector just when many labs serving nursing homes are worried about steep Medicare cuts coming Jan. 1. After selling its physician office referral testing, 35 patient service centers, and a mobile…

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FDA Clears Waived CBC For Near-Patient Testing

CEO SUMMARY: Market clearance of the first-ever CLIA-waived analyzer for complete blood count and three-part differential tests could cut time-to-answer from days to mere minutes for one of the top 20 tests by volume performed at core laboratories. Developer Sysmex America, Inc., foresees…

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AMA, AHA Join Labs to Request Delay, Fix

CEO SUMMARY: In what may be a first for the clinical lab industry, the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association joined with 20 other healthcare associations to ask CMS Administrator Seema Verma to address the problems with the CMS proposal involving Medicare Part B f…

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For Top 20 Tests, CMS to Cut Payment by 28% in 2018-2020

ON SEPT. 22, MEDICARE OFFICIALS RELEASED THE DRAFT PRICES for the 2018 Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule. The bad news for the lab industry is that the fee cuts are deeper than the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had predicted earlier. The price cuts to clinical la…

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Labs Serving Nursing Homes, Rural Areas to Suffer Most

CLINICAL LABORATORIES WITH A HIGH percentage of Medicare Part B lab test reimbursement are expected to suffer the most under the Part B Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule (CLFS) cuts that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed Sept. 22. With the proposed rates schedul…

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October 17, 2016 Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News

Quebec’s provincial health authority is moving forward with what may be one of the largest consolidations of clinical laboratory testing undertaken in North America during the past 30 years. The goal is to bring the lab testing currently done in as many as 500 locations throughout the province int…

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Medical Technologists Who Add Value to Patient Care

IT IS ALWAYS INSPIRING TO LEARN THE STORIES OF CLINICAL LABORATORY SCIENTISTS who spot opportunities to improve patient care, then take initiative to seize that opportunity and help patients get better. Such is the case of a medical technologist in a 25-bed rural hospital who now participates in dail…

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Meet the Medical Technologist Who Does Daily Rounds in the Hospital

TO MAKE THE TRANSITION FROM VOLUME TO VALUE, pathologists and clinical laboratory scientists are beginning to leave the four walls of their labs to engage clinicians in ways that add value to the lab tests performed on their patients. That’s exactly what one medical technologist is doing in a comm…

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Do Regulators Really Protect Patients, Consumers?

IMAGINE, FOR A MOMENT, THAT ONE OF YOUR LOVED ONES had gone to Theranos during the past two years to get lab tests. Assume that your loved one was being tested for significant biomarkers that directly affected the care provided to your family member for significant health issues and that your loved o…

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Might Lawsuits Come Next in Theranos Story?

CEO SUMMARY: Recent disclosures in the news indicate that an agreement between Theranos and Safeway has gone sour— after Safeway spent a third of a billion dollars to fulfill its part of the collaboration! Reporting by The Wall Street Journal c…

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