Empowering laboratory leaders to achieve excellence

Aug. 22, 2017
Jane Hermansen President,CLMA


My term as CLMA president began in March 2017 and will end in March 2019. I have been in the laboratory industry for 32 years, the last 29 years at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. I have been a CLMA member since 1999, active in committee work since 2004, and have served on the CLMA Board of Directors since 2013.
I earned a BA in Medical Technology from Concordia College and an MBA from the New York Institute of Technology.
I am a lifelong learner and passionate community volunteer. I have found a way to combine these two interests and am engaged in mentoring several individuals who are rising leaders in the laboratory industry. I also enjoy traveling and try to have a uniquely local experience wherever I am.

How would you characterize the mission of the Clinical Laboratory Medicine Assocation (CLMA? The official mission of CLMA is to empower laboratory professionals to achieve excellence in leadership through forward-thinking educational, networking, and advocacy opportunities. For me, CLMA is a strong community of laboratory professionals that has helped shape my career as a laboratory manager and define who I am as a person. I can honestly say I wouldn’t be who I am without CLMA.

What benefits does membership provide for laboratorians? CLMA provides laboratory managers access to world-class professional development and education offerings, but more importantly, CLMA provides a community of like-minded individuals who know exactly what you work through on a daily basis and can provide support and solutions to daily challenges.

How does CLMA play a role in the continuing education of laboratorians? What are some key emphases of educational efforts? The CLMA Body of Knowledge is the driving force behind all CLMA education. It clearly defines the competencies we as laboratory leaders should embody, and showcases potential areas of development and growth in our careers. The Body of Knowledge identifies 10 areas of management responsibility and the necessary skills needed to become an exceptional laboratory leader. Using the Body of Knowledge, I have been able to identify areas of professional growth across the 10 domains and then been able to focus on those areas through CLMA webinars, Body of Knowledge webinars, and in person each year at the KnowledgeLab conference.

What role does CLMA play as a public advocate with legislators, regulators, or other entities? What are some current issues on which CLMA is taking the lead? CLMA, through the Legislative, Compliance and Regulatory Committee (LCRC), takes an active role in terms of legislation that comes up on Capitol Hill. Through their participation in a Legislative Symposium each year in Washington, DC, LCRC members focus on issues that affect laboratory managers and meet with members of Congress to discuss issues that are important to our members, including CMS issues. Recently, CLMA initiated the ART—the Active Response Team. It is made up of a diverse group of skilled volunteers who provide input to the LCRC on the monitoring and review of Federal laws and regulations (current and proposed) that impact the laboratory profession.

CLMA has been vocal about the impact of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 (PAMA) on laboratory outreach and has sought to help prepare our membership for these important changes. CLMA also frequently monitors CMS announcements and changes. Coding, billing, and reimbursement directly impact our members, and we seek to provide education around these topics often.

Broadly, how can labs remain financially healthy in these uncertain times? What role does outreach play in that? Outreach is the mechanism that enables integration of laboratory information within the healthcare system. Without the diversity of testing and volumes that come from an outreach program, a
hospital-based laboratory will have a less robust test menu and be more expensive on a per-unit basis. Outreach testing brings additional volumes, which lower the overall unit cost.

Additionally, the revenues collected from outreach testing can be substantial, generating a margin of financial contribution which laboratories can re-invest toward departmental improvements. Lowered unit cost plus a profitable revenue stream equals a strategy for success!

The aging population of clinical laboratory scientists, and anticipated shortages of qualified professionals, are major concerns across the benches of the lab. How is CLMA addressing this issue? CLMA understands the need for strong leadership development across the laboratory industry and addresses this need through education and networking. One benefit of CLMA membership is the opportunity to participate in CLMA’s Leadership Curriculum, offered every year at KnowledgeLab. These all-day pre-conference workshops offer a wide variety of topics—ranging from emotional intelligence to preparation for the Diplomate in Laboratory Management (DLM) certification. CLMA members also enjoy a strong professional network, which includes a new CLMA mentorship program, encouraging the current generation to mentor the industry’s new leaders. As an organization, CLMA believes in empowering all generations and champions the common trait that unites strong laboratory managers: leaders who build leaders.

What do you see as an emerging challenge to the industry within the next five years? With an increasing focus on managing population health, we have a golden opportunity. As we know, laboratory testing influences the majority of medical decisions; however, the challenge is articulating relevance in a manner that organizational leadership understands. We must be able to communicate a message about laboratory testing that goes beyond “lab” and demonstrates how the laboratory impacts overall patient care. Lab testing plays a significant role in managing wellness, supporting preventative care, selecting precision diagnostics, and driving therapeutics and ongoing monitoring. At less than five cents on the healthcare dollar, our industry’s value far outweighs the cost. We must be diligent in communicating that value.

You mentioned KnowledgeLab. KnowledgeLab 2018 will take place in Long Beach, California next spring. How are members served by this important four-day event? KnowledgeLab is the premier in-person event for laboratory managers and professionals. It provides us the opportunity to get out of our institutions and to connect with fellow laboratory professionals, and to recharge and reinvigorate ourselves through learning and networking dedicated to the latest trends and topics in today’s changing laboratory management environment. KnowledgeLab keeps members informed and up to date by providing fresh approaches to common laboratory challenges through educational sessions, the chance to learn from industry leaders, and the opportunity to hear best practices and insights from colleagues.