[Histonet] ASCP BOR - answers to questions

Vinnie Della Speranza dellav <@t> musc.edu
Fri Apr 1 04:58:52 CST 2005

As always Peggy, you are informative, helpful and the voice of reason. Thank you. all very good suggestions. My worst fear would be that a "walkout" would do little but draw negative attention to a discipline little known by the public. this simply isn't the kind of publicity that would serve to advance the profession or correct the conditions lamented by some on this list.

the views expressed above are my own and are not intended to represent the views of the NSH

Vinnie Della Speranza
Manager for Anatomic Pathology Services
Medical University of South Carolina
165 Ashley Avenue  Suite 309
Charleston, SC 29425
Ph: 843-792-6353
fax: 843-792-8974
>>> <lpwenk <@t> sbcglobal.net> 03/31/05 20:31 PM >>>
Going to try to answer several questions in this one email. If not
interested in ASCP BOR or in some answers - please push the delete button


The NSH appointed representative to ASCP BOR is Marilyn Gamble. There is a
link to her email at the NSH web site

- click on Who We Are
- click on Appointments
- click on Marilyn's email link under ASCP BOR

The list of histotechs and pathologists on the ASCP BOR Histotechnology exam
committee can be found on the ASCP BOR webpage. There are no email links to
their names.

- click on Histotechnology Examination Committee

Also, you can contact ASCP BOR directly via phone or email. You could ask
them a question, or ask for the phone number on the Histotechnology exam
committee.  The list of staff people working at the BOR and their roles can
be found on:

- at the bottom of the page, click on Contact an ASCP Board of Registry
staff member.


Well, the ASCP BOR staff member was at NSH S/C in Toronto, and talked about
it at the booth, and at several committee meetings. I also called ASCP BOR
in the fall for additional information, which they gave out. Nothing hidden
or secret about it. Ask, and they will tell.

The HT and HTL exams are the most expensive technician/technologist exams
for ASCP BOR, because HT/HTL/pathologists graders have to be brought in from
all other the USA, two weekends a year, to grade all the sets.

The fee paid by the HT/HTL candidates did not cover the cost of the ASCP
grading the written (computer) and the practical HT/HTL exams.

ASCP BOR had made several changes recently, to keep the cost down.

Instead of submitting 15 slides, BOR statistically found that 9 slides were
sufficient to achieve the same pass/fail rate as 15 slides. (In other words,
if someone does a good job on cutting and staining 9, they would have done
the same good job on 15. And the same with someone doing a not so good/bad
job.) By reducing the number of slides, they reduced the number of people
needed to grade the slides, thereby reducing costs.

A new change is that the candidate must pass the written/computer portion
first, before they can submit their practical. This will reduce the number
of practicals being sent in. This again will reduce the number of graders
needed, which will keep costs down.

However, unfortunately, these changes could not keep the costs down enough,
and now ASCP BOR is asking the candidates to help to cover SOME of the costs
of grading the practical exams, by paying an additional $75. Notice the word
SOME. This additional fee still does not cover all the costs.


Maybe not as much as being an NSH member, but I still think I get some
- Tech Samples (for continuing education)
- ASCP Teleconferences (at least 3 each quarter are histology. Others on
management are also helpful)
- "Laboratory Medicine" (which might not have as much histology articles as
I might like, but it gives me a better understanding of how all the labs fit
in together. Helpful in management issues.)
- Representatives from ASCP in Washington DC, working on: laws for payment
and reimbursement which effect my pay; getting grants to start new lab
schools; etc.
- Books like the Frieda Carson textbook, HT/HTL exam study books, Jules
Elias book on IHC
- Annual wage and salary survey

And all of these things cost money to set up and run. Money from ASCP

All of the above information I obtained by A) calling ASCP BOR  and asking
them questions I have, B) attending committee meetings at NSH where the ASCP
BOR staff are there to answer questions, and C) talking with the ASCP BOR
staff that are at the ASCP BOR booth in the exhibit hall that the NSH S/C,
D) reading the ASCP BOR web page, "Laboratory Medicine", and anything else I
can get. It's not a secret.

And calling does help. Sometimes it takes a while, but things do change.
I've called the NSH representatives to ASCP BOR and the chair of the ASCP
BOR Histotechnology exam committee in the past with concerns, ideas,
suggestions, questions. I've gotten answers, and often they have
incorporated my suggestions into changing things on the exams (different
tissues, stains, checking on a question when my students swear there wasn't
a right answer (typo, it turned out, which the BOR QC had already caught so
the students' scores were not effected, etc.)). I've raised questions about
the wage and salary survey, and that was modified. I've offered suggestions
about their flyers about histotechs, and these were changed in the next
revision (about 4 years later - slowly, remember?). No, they didn't change
these things because it was ME who called. They changed because I offered a
good suggestion. There are also things they did not change. So it goes.

No, it isn't perfect. But from where I stand, I think they need more
constructive input and more people being involved. That's us, people. We
care about our field, otherwise we wouldn't still be in the field and on
Histonet. So let's be constructive and offer concrete suggestions and ideas
for improvement  to our representatives - email, call, and attend the NSH
Education Committee or Instructors in Histotechnology meeting in Fort
Lauderdale.  It takes more than 6 people sitting in on a committee, to make
changes. It's sad when the meetings are open to everyone of the 1200 people
in attendance, and only 6 people show up. (That is my personal opinion, not
something gleaned from a book or webpage.)

Off my soap box for a while.

Peggy A. Wenk, HTL(ASCP)SLS
William Beaumont Hospital
Royal Oak, MI 48073

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