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). Histotechnicians (HTs) and Histotechnologists (HTLs) are also included in this category. Instead, the Bureau, without warning, began aggregating its data, providing only that data that reflects broadly on the laboratory profession. NSH and the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) are concerned that BLS's action here marginalizes laboratory professionals and could damage our field. Here's why…
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. For the healthcare industry, one advantage of the BLS data is that it provides a single source of data across the entire spectrum of healthcare professionals.
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. It is simply not accurate reporting. It is also disrespectful of our field as it does not represent the diversity of laboratory professionals.
But how do we fix this? NSH is asking its membership and customers to use the ASCP eAdvocacy website to send a message to the U.S. Department of Labor and BLS to fix the problems it created.
Fix BLS Wage Data for Laboratory Professionals