CRMC lab

Cessna Arriola, clinical laboratory scientist; Diane Gaston, certified phlebotomist technician; Ray Monroe, respiratory care practitioner; Steve Lopez, chief executive and financial officer and Joy Papa, director of ancillary services at Colorado River Medical Center (l to r) show off some of the laboratory’s comprehensive equipment.

NEEDLES — Fourteen of the fifteen categories of inspection by the Commission on Laboratory Accreditation scored 100 percent; the fifteenth scored 99 percent in an early-May inspection of lab and respiratory facilities at Colorado River Medical Center.

COLA lays claim to being the largest private accreditor in the United States. The inspection ensures adherence to federal Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) and California’s extensive regulations on health care providers.

Of 1,501 labs with comparable workloads of 100,000 to a half-million tests a year that COLA inspects, “only a few laboratories get that 95 or better,” explained Joy Papa, director of ancillary services at the hospital.

Those 15 categories include the physical plant and equipment, personnel and proficiency, quality control and assurance, and expand to “almost 100 standards they check on individually from two years of service.”

Said Steve Lopez, chief executive and financial officer for CRMC, “The inspector said it is one of the best labs he’s been to at a critical access hospital. This is a small hospital but we have excellent lab services.

Papa added that CRMC’s is a licensed laboratory. “All laboratory and respiratory personnel have to be licensed,” she explained. “Not all states have that requirement.”

“California is a very demanding state,” Lopez continued; “there are a lot of checks and balances you have to maintain.”

CRMC’s respiratory department is considered part of the laboratory.

Lopez pointed out that the equipment necessary to provide first-rate services such as those offered by the lab are part of his team’s commitment to reinvestment since acquiring CRMC, once municipally-owned with management farmed out to a succession of contractors. “Most of our money goes back into the hospital,” he explained. “For years the investment wasn’t there. There was old equipment, deferred maintenance.

“We’re taking care of it as we can.

“We’re very happy with the lab,” he concluded, emphasizing the 100 percent score “shows our people are very competent and efficient.”

The laboratory at CRMC offers both inpatient and outpatient services at 1401 Bailey Ave. in Needles. Call CRMC at 760-326-7100.

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