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REGULATION OF PHYSICIAN OFFICE LABORATORIES MEANS NEW ASSURANCES OF QUALITY FOR THE PATIENT

REGULATION OF PHYSICIAN OFFICE LABORATORIES MEANS NEW ASSURANCES OF
 QUALITY FOR THE PATIENT
 SILVER SPRING, Md., Feb. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- In the past decade technological advances in physician office laboratories have dramatically changed patient care. Office laboratory testing has become as much a part of the practice of medicine as the stethoscope or blood pressure cuff and is integral to modern diagnosis and treatment. Tests previously thought possible only in large reference labs are performed promptly, accurately and easily in the outpatient laboratory. The physician quickly receives test results, and the patient benefits from expedited care.
 With the release of the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA '88), physician office laboratories throughout the United States will, for the first time, face regulation by the federal government.
 The intent of CLIA '88 is to improve the quality of laboratory medicine, protecting the patient from inaccurate and potentially harmful test results.
 In the face of federal regulation, physicians with in-office laboratories have three choices: They can close their laboratories; they can submit to inspection and certification by federal or state officials; or they can choose accreditation through the Commission on Office Laboratory Accreditation (COLA).
 COLA is a private, non-profit organization sponsored and endorsed by the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Medical Association, the American Society of Internal Medicine and the College of American Pathologists.
 COLA is convinced that physicians really have only one choice: Keep their office laboratories open by attaining and maintaining the high quality standards that will help them receive CLIA '88 certification and enable them to continue to provide timely and cost- effective patient care. COLA sponsors believe that enrolling in COLA is the single best step physicians can take to comply with CLIA '88.
 Since 1988, COLA has accredited more than 1,200 office laboratories through its voluntary Quality Leadership Program, a program designed by physicians and validated by their peers.
 COLA's comprehensive program of education, evaluation and accreditation has helped physicians practice quality laboratory medicine and prepare for the demands of CLIA '88.
 COLA is committed to quality in office labs. On invitation, COLA addressed the United States Congress concerning physician office laboratories and COLA's standards of quality. With the implementation of CLIA '88, COLA expects to receive deeming authority, giving physicians the option of selecting COLA to certify their laboratories on behalf of the federal government.
 -0- 2/26/92
 /CONTACT: Bill Kutson of the Commission on Office Laboratory Accreditation, 301-588-5882/ CO: Commission on Office Laboratory Accreditation ST: Maryland IN: SU:


DC-MK -- DC004 -- 2657 02/26/92 09:01 EST
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Date:Feb 26, 1992
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