AACC honors Senator Roy Blunt for his dedication to improving pediatric medical testing

Aug. 24, 2020

AACC has announced that Senator Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) is the recipient of AACC’s Outstanding Legislator Award for the 116th Congress, according to a press release from the AACC. This award recognizes Sen. Blunt for his tireless efforts to improve children’s healthcare by advancing the development of pediatric reference intervals.

The current lack of accurate pediatric reference intervals is a serious issue that can lead to incorrect diagnoses and treatments for children. To correctly interpret pediatric lab test results, providers must evaluate results within the context of reference intervals, which are the range of normal test values expected in a healthy child. If a test result falls outside of the reference interval, this alerts the pediatrician that a child might have a condition requiring medical intervention. However, limited access to samples from healthy children has significantly hindered the establishment of accurate pediatric reference intervals. So, while reference intervals for adults are generally reliable, there is considerable inconsistency in the ranges provided for young patients. AACC has worked for many years to remedy this, and most recently spearheaded collaborative efforts to raise awareness in Congress of the need for funding toward this aim.

Sen. Blunt has played a vital role in this initiative by championing the issue of pediatric reference intervals with House and Senate appropriators. His leadership and persistence were critical in building legislative support for action in this area and resulted in the inclusion of report language supporting the improvement of pediatric reference intervals in the fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget. In this year’s FY2021 budget, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) responded to Sen. Blunt’s request and outlined how federal funding would be used to advance this initiative. Both of these are important early steps in a process to secure funding for CDC to develop reference intervals that enable children to receive medical care on par with that of adults.

Additionally, AACC extends its appreciation to Sen. Blunt for approving funding for the harmonization of clinical laboratory test results, which is crucial to ensuring that test results are uniform and that patients of all ages receive accurate diagnoses and effective care. AACC first secured dedicated yearly funding for CDC’s harmonization efforts in 2018, and thanks to Sen. Blunt’s ongoing support of this issue, this funding has continued, permitting CDC to expand its work in this area.

“AACC expresses its deepest gratitude to Sen. Blunt for his commitment to improving quality of care for both pediatric and adult patients through the advancement of clinical laboratory testing,” said AACC President Dr. David G. Grenache. “In particular, we hope that Sen. Blunt’s successes in support of pediatric reference interval development will ultimately lead to the improvement of testing provided to our nation’s youngest and most vulnerable population. We look forward to our ongoing partnership with Sen. Blunt and to continuing to work toward this goal in the future.”

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