Microbial Diseases Laboratory Services
Public Health Laboratory staffs aim to continually deliver the best possible standard of services to our clients. Our staffs strive to provide our clients with professional, high quality and timely service and are available to answer questions and resolve problems that our clients may have. Our hours of coverage are from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Monday through Friday, 8:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. Saturday. The Public Health Laboratory's Clerical Staffs are available to answer all non-technical questions or to forward your technical questions to the appropriate staff.
REPORTING OF TEST RESULTS
Specimens are processed upon receipt and results are reported to submitter when testing is completed. Turnaround times vary with the amount of time required to make the various test determinations.
Urgent reports are telephoned when the results are available. Other reports are electronically transmitted, faxed or mailed as submitter requests.
Laboratory Director and personnel in the testing sections are available to answer questions regarding test procedures and interpretations of results.
The Los Angeles County Public Health Laboratory (PHL) adheres to a Quality Assessment Program that focuses on methods and standards that continuously monitor and improve the level of diagnostic testing service provided. The Los Angeles County Public Health Laboratory is a leader in the field of diagnostic laboratory testing. Our goal is to provide the foremost professional service by offering tests of high quality that effectively meet and exceed the needs of the physicians and patients who rely on our service.
The PHL Quality Assessment Program incorporates policies and practices that ensure that diagnostic testing results are reported in a timely manner and are monitored and verified to detect, control and prevent the occurrence of errors.
Quality control of media, reagents and equipment is performed prior to/or concurrently with all test procedures. Standards and/or test controls ensure accuracy, reliability and reproducibility of test results.
The PHL subscribes to CLIA approved proficiency testing programs and implements internal proficiency testing as means of monitoring the quality and accuracy of test performance.
Specimens are delivered to the laboratory by private courier service. Submission requirements are listed in the test information section including instructions on packaging, temperature requirements for storage and transportation. Couriers are trained in bio-hazardous materials handling and spill clean up, proper specimen handling procedures, labeling of containers, and transporting specimens per specified temperature requirements.
A packing slip must be affixed to each bag of specimens submitted to the Public Health Laboratory. Central Accessioning staff compares the contents of the bag to the items listed on the packing slip to ensure that all items sent are received by the laboratory. All items received by the laboratory are scanned in the specimen tracking system.
Specimen collection kits, supplied by the Public Health Laboratory, including test requisition forms and biohazard specimen bags, may be obtained by submitting a Container Request Form to the Support Services Section.
TEST REQUISITION FORMS
A test requisition form is the authorization that enables the laboratory to perform specified procedures. This form must accompany each specimen unless the submitting facility is electronically linked to the Laboratory. The following information must be provided:
Patient name or other unique identifier
Date of specimen collection
Type and/or source of specimen
Name and location of submitter
Name(s) of Requesting physician
Age or Date of Birth
Additional information such as gender, disease suspected, and/or symptoms, may be required for some specific tests.
SPECIMEN LABELING AND PACKAGING REQUIREMENTS
Specimen container lids mast be tightly closed to prevent leakage of specimen. Specimens must be labeled with the patient name, other unique identifier and the date the specimen was collected. Place the specimen inside the pouch of the biohazard container and seal completely. Place the test requisition form of the Sunquest label in the outside pocket of the biohazard bag. Please wear gloves while handing specimens.
Any questions regarding special test not listed in the Specimen Collection Manual may be referred to a Section or Unit Supervisor.
Examination of specimens with ambiguous patient or submitter identity can result in liability for the laboratory.
Specimens may be rejected for any one of the following reasons:
There is a patient name or file number discrepancy between specimen label and test requisition
There is no patient name or other unique identifier on specimen
Specimen is too old when received
There is apparently no specimen in container or insufficient quantity of specimen
The expiration date of the transport medium has been exceeded
Specimen collected in an inappropriate preservation or transport medium
Inappropriate storage or transport conditions
Deviation from the test specific requirements listed in the test information section will lead to specimen rejection.
The laboratory staff will make every effort to obtain information missing from the test requisition and/or to correct ordering errors. The specimens will be processed and results held until information needed is acquired.
The Laboratory will promptly telephone or fax the submitter regarding unsatisfactory specimens.
Unsatisfactory specimens will be stored refrigerated for 14 days. Please call the Public Health Laboratory at (562) 658-1334 to retrieve the unsatisfactory specimen submitted.
Unsatisfactory specimens will be disposed of as bio-hazardous waste after 14 days from receipt.