Congratulations to the Sheboygan Physicians Group Laboratory for meeting all of the criteria for Laboratory Accreditation by COLA, Inc., a leading national laboratory accreditor, whose program and standards enable clinical laboratories and staff to meet U.S. CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments) and other regulatory requirements.
Excerpt from COLA’s certification letter: “The standards your laboratory maintains demonstrate your commitment to quality. Your emphasis on quality leads to reliable test results which are essential in assuring excellence in patient care. We also compliment your staff for its dedication and continued support of COLA standards!”
“I see COLA as being there to help us!” says Marnie Hyland, MT (ASCP), Lab Manager. “They make sure that our documentation is accurate and up to the highest standards. They make sure we are doing the prescribed maintenance on our machines and that we are following all applicable rules and regulations to insure we are providing accurate information to the patients and the doctors who are providing their care.”
Although Marnie was confident that the lab would score well in this most recent accreditation, she admits, “I get a little nervous and panicky when this inspection comes around! It is rare for an organization to receive a 100% accreditation. So, we are very proud of this year’s 99% rating!”
Even though the accreditation occurs every two years, work goes on every day to ensure the lab maintains the highest standards between inspections. “In about 18-24 months I will get another notice and have about two weeks to gather and provide supporting documentation related to all of the areas that they look at.”
The Sheboygan Physicians Group Laboratory services Matthews Oncology Associates (Dr. H. Marshall Matthews), Sheboygan Cancer & Blood Specialists (Dr. S. Mark Bettag) as well as physicians from Sheboygan Internal Medicine Associates (Dr. Nicholas Barnes, Dr. Matthew Hemsing, Dr. Michael Johnson, Dr. Vytas Kerpe, Dr. Charles Schleevogt and Dr. Elizabeth Zurich).
“To give you an idea of the kind of volume we have, over a recent 3-month period (April through June) our lab processed more than 32,000 samples from MOA/SCBS and 34,000 samples from SIMA. Last year we processed 272,578 samples!” Interestingly, because of the nature of cancer care, almost half of the samples were ordered by two oncologists (Dr. Matthews and Dr. Bettag) compared to those ordered by all six physicians from SIMA! NOTE: These are in-house labs and do not include specialty labs that need to be sent out.
Unlike a typical physician’s clinic, this lab has in incredibly fast turnaround for most tests. “I think of us as more of a stat lab,” Marnie explains. “Often times in an Emergency Room setting they have a turnaround time of about an hour and with many of our labs we are able to provide results even faster. This is important because we want things to be as convenient as possible for our patients, so they don’t have to wait around or make an extra trip in for labs prior to treatment. Additionally, we have very good turnaround times for specialty labs that can reduce waiting time and allow treatments to start sooner.”
Marnie has been a member of this clinic laboratory staff since 1997! She explains, “When I was a junior at James Madison Memorial High School in Madison, I took a mini lab science class and we got to prick our finger and figure out what blood type we were. I remember thinking, ‘This is really cool!’ I graduated in 1990 and then worked at Berkshire Medical Center in Massachusetts until a classmate told me of openings at UW-Madison, which is my hometown. So, I worked there about six years before moving here and working at St. Nicholas Hospital for a year or so and then I started at this clinic.”
“I continue to be amazed not only by how much we can learn about a patient from analyzing their blood... but how much we can learn with just a little finger prick these days, compared to years ago!” Marnie reflects. “And so much has changed over the years! I remember some of the things we used to do that we would NEVER do now!!! And the instrumentation now involves so much more electronics.”
Marnie does miss the patient contact that she once had. “It’s funny, because even after being here since 1997, sometimes a patient will ask, “Are you new here? But I still feel a family connection with our patients. I remember one particular occasion when I was having a bad day and sort of feeling sorry for myself and one of our patients came in and said, “Man, it’s really windy out there!” as she turned and straightened her wig! I just started laughing and it really put whatever I might have been dealing with in perspective!”
Special thanks to Marnie and all of the staff of the Sheboygan Physicians Group Laboratory who offer this critical service with skill, compassion, gentle hands and a warm and sharp needle! 😊
Medical Technologist (MT):
Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT):