Customer Stories

'I never felt that our COLA Inc. surveyor wasn't on our side.'

Angela DeRossett, MT,
Laboratory & Radiology Services Manager
Tidewater Physician Multispecialty Group
Newport News, VA

COLA client since 1996

As Laboratory and Radiology Services Manager for Tidewater Physician Multispecialty Group (TPMG) in Newport News, VA, Angela DeRossett oversees all high-complexity and waived testing operations for the practice’s 30 offices.  She’s particularly proud of the lab’s excellent results during its most recent COLA  Inc. inspection, since it occurred shortly after major changes had taken place at the laboratory.

“In the prior six months, we installed four new analyzers and had significant staff changes,” explained DeRossett.  “But we still achieved a perfect score.”

DeRossett attributes TPMG’s good performance to the lab’s commitment to quality operations as well as to the educational, informative approach that COLA Inc. surveyor Leon Headley used during the process.  “I had the sense that COLA Inc.’s goal in this survey was not to be punitive, but simply to be sure were doing all that we can to be operating as a quality laboratory,” she said.  “Not only did our surveyor point out areas that we should be paying special attention to, but he also shared the experiences of other laboratories, which I found very helpful.”

Prior to the survey, DeRossett made use of a COLA Inc. self-assessment tool which is available on COLACentral.org, a web portal which provides a variety of helpful electronic tools, giving laboratory personnel the ability to manage regulatory compliance requirements electronically instead of having to rely on manual processes.  From their desktop, managers can update their laboratory’s profile with the click of a few buttons instead of having to fill out, fax and file paper records.  They also can use the tool to view news alerts and survey results, prepare for upcoming compliance surveys and receive support for a wide range of laboratory needs.

“It’s not that our lab has never received a citation during an inspection,” DeRossett said.  “But if you can demonstrate that you are doing all that you can to run a quality lab based on COLA Inc.’s standards, you will be successful.

'So many COLA Inc. people were willing to work with us.'

Claudia Cherlin
Laboratory Manager, Endocrinology Practice
Los Gatos, CA
COLA client since 2005

As the laboratory manager for a busy Endocrinology practice in Los Gatos, CA, Claudia Cherlin oversees an annual volume of approximately 12,000 specialty tests, such as hormone testing for diabetes and thyroid analysis.

A COLA Inc. client since 2005, she has always valued the accreditor’s educational and informative approach to the survey process, but was particularly impressed when she had some follow-up questions about calibration verification implementation procedures . The verification process ensures that a test system is accurately measuring samples within reportable ranges.

“After our survey was completed, I realized I had some questions about the reporting procedures in this area,” explained Cherlin. “When I called COLA Inc. for clarification, Teresa Russ, QA Coordinator could not have been more helpful. She also involved Susan Densford, Survey Team Leader, and after a couple of phone calls, I had all my questions answered and a practical plan for how to proceed. Now I know exactly what I need to do and how often I need to do it in order to properly document this process.

“It’s one thing to read about a CLIA requirement in a manual, but it’s quite another sometimes to actually implement it,” added Cherlin. “When you have questions as to how to make a process work in your lab, COLA Inc. is always there to help. I was so impressed that both of these women were willing to work with me to find a solution.”

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