Oklahoma public health laboratory to receive several unscheduled visits from state and federal officials – FOX23 News

STILLWATER, Oklahoma. – State and federal officials will be making an unscheduled visit to the state public health laboratory in Stillwater in the near future to ensure changes are made after a critical federal report.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a report last month after a September inspection of the still relatively new operation after it moved from Oklahoma City to Stillwater amid the pandemic. CMS is the primary government agency that studies health laboratories in the United States

The report lists many issues such as understaffing, improper training of new staff on how to handle samples, improper storage of samples, improper transport of samples and the fact that samples expire before being investigated. . There was also no real system in place for employees to voice and resolve concerns, as well as patient information left in the open in public areas of the building.

Acting Oklahoma State Department of Health commissioner Keith Reed said the report gives the state an outside look at how the lab operates and that they have systems in place to correct the shortcomings.

“We are working on mock surveys to make sure that internally we are in compliance. We have a project management in place that reviews these individual actions that we have taken. Said Reed.

Reed told reporters at a press conference that CMS left specific things the lab is required by law to do, and they are tracking that precisely. CMS and the state will also be making a drop in unannounced visits to ensure things are in compliance on a normal operating day.

When asked if there were enough expired or spoiled samples to impact the state’s COVID numbers in September, Reed said it was a small group of samples which, even if they wanted to be studied, would not have influenced the data communicated to the public by a large margin.

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