On April 1, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced in a Memorandum that an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing is equivalent to an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, respectively, in biological science—allowing individuals with a nursing degree the same rights to do moderate and high complexity testing as certified laboratory professionals.


In addition, the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) says it also appears that CMS’s position could allow individuals with as little as a bachelor’s degree in nursing to direct a CLIA moderate complexity laboratory and/or serve in senior supervisory roles within a CLIA high complexity laboratory.

This has prompted the world’s largest professional membership organization for pathologists and laboratory professionals to express it’s disagreement with the federal agency’s assessment.

In an email from their Washington office, ASCP officials write:  Based on our review of biological science and nursing degree requirements, biological science degrees require three to four times more academic science than does nursing. Another notable contrast is that biological science degrees are heavily reliant on advanced level coursework in the sciences while nursing degrees are not. 

We have great respect for the work and invaluable services nurses provide patients. That said, given the significant lack of biological and other science obtained through a typical degree in nursing, we do not agree that the nursing degree is equivalent to a biological sciences degree or that it would adequately prepare someone to perform non-waived laboratory services

ASCP is urging members to  Sign the Petition to tell CMS that you believe a degree in nursing is not the same thing as a degree in the biological sciences and that appropriate academic coursework and clinical training/experience are need to provide quality testing services.

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