On July 14th, The House Appropriations Committee approved the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, & Related Agencies FY2022 funding bill today. Included in the accompanying report was language pertaining to pediatric reference intervals:
Improving Pediatric Reference Intervals.—The Committee encourages CDC to initiate efforts to improve the accuracy of pediatric reference intervals. (Page 97, H.R. 117-000)
The association previously secured report language in the FY 2020 budget agreement requesting that CDC submit a plan a plan to Congress for improving PRIs. According to the CDC, they already have the infrastructure in place to achieve this objective. The agency has stated that with $10 million annually, it could use its National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to obtain the needed clinical data and specimens, and the agency’s Environmental Health Laboratory could conduct the studies to develop the PRIs. CDC’s proposal is as follows:
- Collect clinical samples through NHANES, which has the organization and expertise to collect the specimens from healthy children; and
- Utilize its Environmental Health Laboratory (EHL) to generate the reference intervals for children and disseminate the information to clinical laboratories. EHL has developed reference intervals in the past.
For the last several years, AACC has led an ad-hoc coalition for improving PRIs that includes prominent healthcare groups such as the American Academy of Pediatrics. These groups support CDC’s approach and have joined AACC in urging Congress to provide the agency with the additional funding needed to improve pediatric reference intervals and ensure equitable and quality care for our country’s children. The association is currently working with its allies to secure funding for this initiative in the FY 2022 budget.