The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has awarded COLA—a physician-directed organization whose purpose is to promote health and safety through accreditation and educational programs—deemed status for the pathology specialty.  

COLA now has deemed authority for the specialty of pathology. Pathology accreditation includes histopathology, oral pathology, and cytology. COLA has assembled a team of subject matter experts and resources in pathology.  

“Now that COLA has deeming authority for the specialty of pathology, we are looking forward to serving a growing number of hospitals, pathology groups and specialists with our full-service accreditation program,” says Nancy Stratton, CEO of COLA. “COLA will continue to provide superior service, with emphasis on high-quality patient results, to a larger number of laboratories than ever before.”  

David Chhieng, MD, MBA, MSHI, MSEM, MLS, is the chief medical officer of COLA and is board certified in clinical and anatomic pathology, cytopathology and clinical informatics.

Chhieng is an internationally renowned cytopathologist and is well versed in presenting at many national and international conferences. He is a prolific researcher, publishing over 170 refereed articles, and has contributed to various textbooks in the field of pathology. He has more than 20 years experience participating in accreditation services. 

“We are very honored to have Dr. Chhieng’s knowledge and expertise leading COLA’s pathology accreditation effort,” says Stratton. “His vast insights in pathology and experience in the accreditation process are outstanding and I look forward to him sharing his wealth of knowledge with our laboratories.”   

Prior to joining COLA, Chhieng served as the Director of Anatomic Pathology at the University of Washington, Seattle.    

COLA is also announcing that Kathy Wilson, HT(ASCP)QLS, has joined the organization as the Director of Pathology Accreditation.  

Wilson is an ASCP certified histotechnician with Qualification in Laboratory Safety.  She has over 45 years experience in operations and accreditation of both clinical and anatomic pathology laboratories.  

“Kathy Wilson played an essential part in COLA receiving pathology deemed status, and I am looking forward to her sharing her knowledge and experience with our laboratories,” says Stratton.  

Prior to joining COLA, Wilson was the Anatomic Pathology Operations Manager, Safety Officer and Committee Chair for local and regional laboratories in Austin, Texas.