The Scotland County Health Department Laboratory, a facility nationally certified by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA), operates under the guidelines established by the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health, Division of Public Health, Department of Health and Human Services. Laboratory support is required and necessary for disease surveillance, diagnosis, monitoring and enforcement of environmental health programs.
The laboratory functions as a clinical and technical information center for each of the departments and programs that provide services within the Health Department. The staff performs a multitude of test “in-house”, providing virtually immediate results for requests as basic as a "dip" urinalysis to those as complicated as HDL Cholesterol. The laboratory also oversees "send-out" tests that are outside of the parameters of the laboratory's certifications, and are performed at several in-state and out-of-state facilities. The results of "in-house" and "send-out" tests are critical for the individual departments and programs to be able to provide accurate information and advice to their clients as it relates to each individual's medical concerns.
The laboratory is staffed with Medical Laboratory Technicians who are individually certified by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP). All of the "techs" are trained to operate all of the testing equipment employed by the laboratory, and are evaluated for proficiency on a regular basis. Each "tech" receives continuing education (as required by laboratory policy) in order to maintain and improve current knowledge and to be able to continue to provide SCHD programs with test results reflecting the most recent technical training.
In the past year, the laboratory has updated its Operations Manual, Quality Assurance Plan, Departmental Policies, and a variety of other elements within the department in order to:
- Keep abreast of improvements and changes in testing procedures
- Streamline laboratory functions to laboratory essential responsibilities
- Respond more professionally as a laboratory staff
- Provide better communications of test requests and results between the laboratory and the various SCHD programs.
The Laboratory is also part of the Health Alert Network (HAN) and can quickly communicate alerts to and from the North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health.
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