COLA WEBINAR ASSISTS CALIFORNIA LABS IN TRANSITIONING TO NEW QUALITY CONTROL GUIDELINES
COLA, a national laboratory accreditor and an advocate for quality in laboratory medicine and patient care, hosted a webinar on November 18th for California Medical Association (CMA) members considering the use of the new quality testing procedure called Individualized Quality Control Plan (IQCP) in their physician-office laboratory.
COLA presented the program following the recent passage of California SB 75, which includes the use of alternate quality testing procedures recognized by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The legislation permits labs in the state to implement IQCP, a QC option that will go into effect January 1, 2016. The previous form of alternate quality testing recognized by CMS, Equivalent Quality Control (EQC), is now also allowed in California, but only through December 31, 2015, when IQCP will become the only CMS-recognized alternate quality testing procedure.
IQCP allows labs to consider all possible sources of errors unique to their individual laboratory, and to develop a quality control plan customized for their testing workflow process, while maintaining compliance with applicable regulations. To implement IQCP, a lab must perform a risk assessment, using the lab’s own data and personnel, and then develop a QC plan based upon the risk assessment. All laboratory specialties except Pathology are eligible for IQCP.
During the webinar, the COLA presenter explained key elements of IQCP, and described how labs can prepare for implementation of the new guidelines. IQCP is the first quality control approach to encompass all three phases of clinical testing — pre-analytical, analytical, and post-analytical.
“As a leading laboratory educator, COLA is here to help California labs, no matter where they are in the IQCP implementation process,” said Doug Beigel, COLA Chief Executive Officer. “We will continue to offer webinars, workshops, as well as a manual and software program to simplify the terminology and concepts, and provide a clear roadmap to developing and implementing an individualized quality control plan.”
COLA accredits nearly 7,500 medical laboratories and provides the clinical laboratory with a program of education, consultation, and accreditation. The organization is an independent, non-profit accreditor whose education program and standards enable clinical laboratories and staff to meet U.S. CLIA and other regulatory requirements. COLA is recognized by the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services and the California Department of Public Health’s Laboratory Field Services as a deemed accrediting organization. COLA’s program is endorsed by the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the American College of Physicians (ACP), and is also recognized by The Joint Commission. For more information about COLA accreditation services and educational products, and online educational opportunities, please call 800-981-9883 or visit COLA’s web site at www.cola.org.