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The NAACLS News

Your home base for all NAACLS announcements, news and special features

Category Archives: CEO’s Corner

by Dianne M. Cearlock, PhD

Chief Executive Officer

NAACLS’ mission is: “NAACLS is committed to being the premier international agency for accreditation and approval of educational programs in the clinical laboratory sciences and related health professions through the involvement of expert volunteers and its commitment to public service.” To meet the commitment to public service, NAACLS needs to keep up a communication flow with members of the public to solicit opinions, ideas, and concerns. Only through effective communication can NAACLS stay aware of the needs of the public and the services NAACLS needs to provide. NAACLS uses various approaches to foster this communication.

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NAACLS posts accreditation and approval decisions:

In much the same way that NAACLS accredits or approves programs in the clinical laboratory sciences, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) recognizes programmatic/specialized accreditors, including NAACLS. The CHEA standards, revised in 2010, require accrediting bodies to have “policies or procedures, developed in consultation with institutions or programs, to inform the public of the basis for final decisions to grant or reaffirm accreditation and, in the case of denial or withdrawal of accreditation, to provide specific reasons for the decision accompanied by a response, related to the final decision, from the institution or program.” The purpose of this requirement is to ensure accountability of Board decisions and transparency to the public.

In compliance, NAACLS posts the most recent accreditation and approval decisions made by the Board of Directors on its website. For each program that went through accreditation or approval review in a given cycle, NAACLS posts the program type, institution, Standard(s) cited when applicable, award, next review date(s), and Program Director. Programs that have been assigned probationary status have the option to submit a written response that is then also made available to the public by posting on the website. (NAACLS reserves the right not to publish responses that are inappropriate or inflammatory and to append an Editor’s Note if there are factual errors contained in responses.)

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The new Standards are now available on our website

During the summer months of 2012, the NAACLS Board of Directors released a draft version of revised Standards on the NAACLS website with the request for public comment. All comments were collected and reviewed by the Board and, subsequently, revisions were made. The final version was passed by the Board at its September 2012 meeting, and this final version is now available on the NAACLS website. The next course of action, then, is the implementation of the new Standards, which will follow a timeline that is dependent upon the work of two new task forces that have been created by the Board of Directors.

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After over two years of diligent work, the NAACLS Standards Task Force is nearing completion of its charge and will soon be submitting the new draft Standards to the Board of Directors for consideration. As previously reported, the charge to the Task Force is:

  • to review and revise the current Standards with a focus on “outcomes”;
  • to decrease emphases on inputs for self studies and foster innovation;
  • to consider multiple models of education delivery;
  • to limit affiliation agreement components to those requiring legal review;
  • to explore different site visit models and recommend a model that keeps NAACLS at the forefront of accreditation approaches; and
  • To consider current and future discussions regarding levels of practice and the career ladder in clinical laboratory sciences. 

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The Annual Survey of Programs, a collaborative effort of NAACLS, the ASCP-Board of Certification (ASCP-BOC), and the American Medical Association (AMA), was disseminated to program directors of 570 NAACLS accredited and approved programs. Submission of the completed survey is required annually by the Standards for NAACLS programs. Presented here are data indicating numbers of NAACLS accredited and approved programs and graduates, certification examination pass rates, and job and/or further education placement rates of graduates.

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NAACLS has been working towards revision of the core and unique Standards for Accreditation and Approval for nearly two years. A previous CEO’s Corner (New Directions – Same Values, Volume 106, Fall 2010) outlined the Board of Directors’ vision for the revised Standards that includes a focus on outcomes, fewer requirements for documenting resources and course inputs, and an ambience that encourages innovation. There has been less communication regarding the process by which new Standards are developed, reviewed, and adopted. This column outlines the past and future processes of NAACLS Standards revision.

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All organizations that accredit, approve, or recognize educational programs have guidelines and a process for handling complaints. Complaints are infrequent at NAACLS but, when received, are taken seriously and addressed by following a written process. The guidelines and process used by NAACLS are designed to provide the complainant and the program in question with respect and fairness and achieve consistency of decision-making over time.

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