CRI_stockartCOLA Resources Inc (CRI), Columbia, Md, the educational subsidiary of COLA, has been awarded a $1.5 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to improve waived testing performance and outcomes at certificate of waiver sites nationwide.

The 5-year project is intended to support and expand the efforts of stakeholder partners such as CDC, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and others to instill quality practices and recommendations at certificate of waiver sites in order to improve patient safety and health outcomes.

The Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) requires that waived tests be simple and have a low risk of producing an incorrect result. However, this does not mean that waived tests are completely error-proof. To decrease the likelihood of incorrect results, waived testing must be performed correctly, by trained personnel, in an environment where good testing practices are followed.

Since 1992, when the CLIA regulations were first implemented, waived testing has increased significantly, with the number of testing analytes increasing from nine in 1993 to 93 in 2015, all together representing more than 8,000 waived test systems. At the same time, the number of facilities with a certificate of waiver has grown from fewer than 70,000 in 1993 to more than 180,000 in 2015. These sites include pediatric, urology, family physician, and internal medicine practices as well as urgent care clinics and other primary care sites.

“This cooperative agreement project is designed to support and expand resources and best practice recommendations to instill quality practices in certificate of waiver sites,” says James Liggins, CEO of CRI. “As a long-time advocate for increasing educational opportunities for both certificate of waiver sites and personnel, with the goal of ensuring quality testing and patient care, CRI is very proud to have been selected by CDC to spearhead this process.”

“This proposed cooperative agreement project is intended to support and expand the efforts of the laboratory and stakeholder organizations to instill quality practices in certificate of waiver sites nationwide and to improve patient safety and health outcomes,” says Heather Stang, health scientist in the division of laboratory systems at CDC. “We look forward to the collaboration with CRI to improve waived testing performance and quality monitoring.” As part of the project, CRI will:

  • Develop or expand systems, including a special information portal, which will include information about regulatory requirements and good laboratory practices, training and educational materials, and quality improvement tools and resources.
  • Conduct assessments of practices and waived testing performance in eligible sites to identify areas needing improvement.
  • Increase applicable sites’ participation in quality assessment and quality improvement activities.

Long-term, the project is intended to decrease inappropriate performance and use of waived tests at applicable sites, and to improve the use of waived test results for making healthcare decisions.

For more information, visit COLA Resources Inc.