2021 Opens with a Major Story … and It’s Not COVID!

Commentary-by-R-Lewis-DarkOn the pages that follow, you will learn about a major story in the clinical laboratory industry that has gone unreported and publicly unremarked by the lab profession at large. This story is how three large health systems that own 372 hospitals have switched to a different CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments) accreditation organization over the past 18 months. 

In simplest terms, the Veterans Administration (170 hospitals), Ascension Health (151 hospitals), and Providence Health (51 hospitals) made The Joint Commission (TJC) their preferred CLIA accrediting body over the College of American Pathologists (CAP). Given the two-year cycle for CLIA lab inspections, it will take several years for these hospital labs to switch to TJC. CAP is expected to continue accrediting certain hospitals within these three health systems. 

Here, you will learn important details about these developments, along with a statement from CAP. Following here is an analysis of why this huge shift in market share of CLIA hospital lab accreditations is happening. Next, here, you will read a lab director describing the experience of his hospitals during the first CLIA lab inspections conducted by TJC. 

Each story draws open a curtain on this highly-significant development within the clinical laboratory profession. Every clinical laboratory in the United States must comply with CLIA 1988 requirements. Thus, if owners of 372 hospitals are choosing to use a different CLIA accrediting body, owners and administrators of other labs will want to know why these hospital owners decided to move away from one accreditor and use a different one. 

The Dark Report is doing its job of delivering timely, actionable intelligence on this major development in the clinical lab industry. The College of American Pathologists was first to organize lab quality activities dating back to the 1930s. It has been in the forefront of most advances in lab quality programs and is justifiably proud of this 80-year-long leadership. 

As to The Dark Report’s coverage of these developments, it is important for CAP members to remember Sophocles, who was first to be credited with the statement, “Don’t shoot the messenger. Don’t blame the person who brings bad news.” Instead, CAP and its membership would be best served by understanding these decisions, addressing the reasons why health systems are switching, and deliver an even better, more competitive CLIA accreditation service to the clinical laboratory profession.



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