USC ENDOCRINE LABORATORIES

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GENERAL TESTING INFORMATION

Hours Of Operation: Monday – Friday 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, (Closed on major holidays)

Phone: (855) 224-7111

Fax: (855) 224-7123

Billing Inquiries: (855) 224-7111 ext 32817

Supplies/Couriers: (855) 224-7111 ext 32802

Our Client Services Department is trained to respond to client inquiries concerning test information, patient results, specimen collection, transport, courier services, supply requests and test availability.  In the event you require detailed technical information, we will transfer you to a Technical Supervisor.

Specimens are processed and prepared for testing as they are received.  Turnaround times for reporting of test results vary according to the type of test ordered.  However, it should be noted that some analyses have longer incubation times or may require dilution or confirmation of results obtained by an alternate method.  Because we want to ensure that all of our results are both thorough and accurate, stated turnaround times or testing schedules may not be met if a specific assay does not meet our reporting and/or quality control criteria.  In such instances, a preliminary report can usually be obtained by calling Client Services.

SAMPLE TRANSPORT SERVICES
For clients in the greater Los Angeles Metropolitan Area, courier services are available through Modern Messenger.  For all other clients, samples may be sent to us via FedEx or the US Postal Service.  We can provide prepaid transport slips and materials for FedEx.  Please contact (855) 224 –7111 ext 32802 so that we can accommodate your requirements.

TEST INFORMATION UPDATES
As new procedures or assays are developed, we will issue technical and informational updates in order to keep our clients informed.  We encourage you to keep them with this manual so they may be referred to as necessary.

REPEAT TESTING
At the discretion of the Director or Technical Supervisor, a test may be repeated, without charge, if, in the clinician’s judgement, the result does not correlate with the patient’s clinical profile.  To ensure that the specimen is available for repeat analysis, please make such requests within 7 days after receiving a result, by calling our Client Services Department.  For faster service, please have available the patient’s name, the laboratory accession number from the original report, and the reason for the repeat request.  The repeat testing will be performed according to the regular test schedule.

ADDITIONAL TESTING
After receiving results, you may request additional testing on the original specimen.  To ensure that the specimen is available for further analysis, please make such requests
within 7 days after receiving a result, by calling our Client Services Department.  For faster service please have available the patient’s name, the laboratory accession number from the original report.  These will be charged as new test requests, and Federal regulations may require an authorization signature from the requesting physician before these analyses can be performed.

The signed “ADD-ON” form must be faxed to (855) 224-7123 and include the following information:
(Note:  Results will not be reported until the ADD-ON form has been returned with the authorizing signature.)

REFLEX TESTING
Clients may wish to have additional procedures performed automatically based upon the results of initial testing.  Please mark the appropriate choice(s) or print reflex test requests under the comment field on the original test requisition form.

QNS (QUANTITY NOT SUFFICIENT) / LOW VOLUME SPECIMENS
Specimens are considered short when the volume received is less than the minimum requirement for testing.  The client is then contacted and informed that more sample volume is needed.  Short samples are saved for a month or, until more specimen is received.  Short specimens will not be processed unless a Laboratory Supervisor approves the sample for “Exception” testing.

QNS Samples Requesting Thyroglobulin - It is sometimes possible to run a QNS sample at a dilution or by RIA.  However, the reported result may be incomplete and further testing may be impossible.  In such cases, a “Short Sample Form” will be faxed to the client indicating that there was insufficient sample to perform the thyroglobulin test according to standard testing procedures.  The form should be faxed back to us with the client’s signature documenting that they have consented to the terms of the new provisional testing strategy and/or provided new instructions.

QNS Samples Requesting Other Tests - The Technical Director will advise Client Services who will in turn notify the client if it is possible to run the QNS sample at a dilution.  However as previously stated, the reported result may be incomplete and further testing may be impossible.  In such cases, a “Short Sample Form” will be faxed to the client indicating that there was insufficient sample to perform the test according to standard testing procedures.  The form should faxed back to us with the client’s signature documenting that they have consented to the terms of the new provisional testing strategy and/or provided new instructions.

SPECIMEN COLLECTION / HANDLING

BLOOD COLLECTION CONTAINERS:  Plain glass red top tubes are the preferred contatiners for collection of serum, however other containers such as tiger top tubes
may also be acceptable. (Note:  All tubes containing an additive or clot activator should be carefully and completely inverted 3-5 times following blood collection.)

SERUM HARVESTED FROM CLOTTED BLOOD
Allow blood to clot for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.  DO NOT let whole blood remain at room temperature longer than two hours before centrifuging. After a 15- minute centrifugation, transfer only the serum (upper yellow-clear liquid) to a separate plastic tube.  Blood should be collected in plain red top tubes.

Serum specimen for thyroid function and Thyroglobulin tests (e.g. Tg, TgAb, TPOAb, TSH, FT3, FT4, TT3, TT4, and THBR) should be kept refrigerated. 

Serum specimen for Calcitonin and PTH testings must be stored and shipped FROZEN.

FINE-NEEDLE ASPIRATION BIOPSY NEEDLE WASHOUT (FNAW)
After the FNA procedure has been completed and the tissue specimen discharge from the biopsy needle, prepare 1 mL aliquots of saline washout in clean plastic containers (preferably 3.5mL polystyrene or microcentrifuge tubes suitable for shipment).  FNAW specimen for Tg and TgAb testings may be kept refrigerated.  FNAW specimen for Calcitonin and PTH testings must be stored/shipped frozen.
      
UNIVERSAL PRECAUTIONS & SHIPPING

All patient samples must be handled as though they are potentially infectious.  The OSHA Blood-borne Pathogens Standard requires that appropriate protective gear be worn when obtaining specimens and that specimen be properly contained and labeled while being transported.  Customized requisition forms, specimen transport bags and plastic transport tubes are available upon request for thyroid function tests.  All containers and specimen bags provided by the USC Endocrine Laboratories meet OSHA requirements.

OSHA requires that the following guidelines be followed for specimens sent to the USC Endocrine Laboratories:

All specimen containers should be properly sealed or tightened prior to being transported to the laboratory in specimen bags.  Leaking containers present a health hazard.

Every patient’s set of samples must be placed into an opaque plastic transport bag that contains only samples for that patient.  It must be accompanied by that patient’s own unique test requisition form.  (Place the specimen in the front pocket and the requisition form in the rear pocket of the bag.)  The requisition should be folded so that identifying patient information CANNOT be seen (see HIPAA regulations).

(Note: More than one specimen type may be submitted per patient requisition providing if the transport conditions required are the identical.  Please indicate each specimen type submitted.)

Specimens collected in syringes with or without needles attached are NOT permitted by law to be transported.  The specimen must be transferred to an appropriate container and sealed for transport.

Glass Tubes must NOT be used for freezing.

Visibly Leaking Specimens or Broken Tubes will NOT be accepted.  Every effort is made to determine why the tube broke or leaked and preventative measures are taken to avoid such recurrences.  The client will be notified of the incident, and asked if more specimen is available from the patient.
 

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