AMP President Karen Weck Reflects on Term and AMP COVID-19 Response

Dear AMP Colleagues,

As my time as AMP President draws to a close, I think back on what an unusual year 2020 has been and on the unprecedented challenges that we have faced. Never before has the critical importance of molecular testing been so much at the forefront. I’d like to reflect on the incredible impacts our organization’s efforts have yielded in shaping practice and influencing policies on U.S. COVID-19 testing:

-      AMP core principles, such as advocating for adequate reimbursement (closing coverage gaps for clinical laboratory testing of SARS-CoV-2) and appropriate regulation to ensure that patients have access to high quality molecular testing, have been echoed in legislation and policy decisions such as the updated Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the HHS’s rescission of the EUA requirement for LDPs in August, as well as in pending legislation sponsored by Senator Rand Paul on regulation of LDPs which was crafted with direct input from AMP subject matter experts.

-       AMP’s Infectious Diseases Subdivision Leadership – as well as many members writing independently - have published insightful analyses of the early months of the U.S. outbreak and provided recommendations for improving the nation’s response to future pandemics.

-       Two robust AMP surveys of U.S. clinical laboratories conducting molecular testing for SARS-CoV-2 are providing solid data about the “situation on the ground” at labs around the country. These data have been presented to Congress, the CDC and FDA, and will be invaluable as our response to the pandemic evolves through the winter season.

-       Media coverage of AMP and AMP members skyrocketed. We’ve seen a 300% increase in media inquiries and responses facilitated by AMP staff, and we applaud members who are independently using their voices to help educate the media and the public about ongoing issues. Thank you!

I am continually awestruck by the energy and efforts manifested by our advocacy staff and volunteers. As a 501c3 nonprofit organization, AMP is prohibited from conducting any partisan activities. We can, however, continue to tirelessly advocate for the molecular community and the patients we serve through position statements and letters, legislative hearings and briefings, and meetings with lawmakers. Our focus on the issues and on scientific data has made us a credible expert resource to policymakers at all levels of government, as well as to media outlets from across the political spectrum. COVID-19 has consumed almost all of us this year; yet we have remained busy with all aspects of molecular testing.

I look forward to continuing on the AMP Board of Directors for another year as Past President. Antonia Sepulveda will take up the President’s gavel at the close of the annual meeting. She is knowledgeable and passionate about our educational initiatives, clinical practice activities, and advocacy issues, and will provide you with periodic updates regarding AMP’s efforts and accomplishments. I leave you in good hands.

It has been a challenging year for all of us, yet I continue to be amazed at the efforts of AMP members to develop, perform, and advocate for high quality testing despite enormous outside pressures. You have all demonstrated incredible resilience and dedication. I would like to close by thanking each of you for your dedication to patient care and to advancing our profession, whether through volunteer involvement in AMP or sharing resources and expertise. By working together, we will persevere through this difficult chapter. I so look forward to celebrating our accomplishments with all of you in person someday soon.

- Karen Weck



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