Report 2007-040 Recommendation 7 Responses

Report 2007-040: Department of Public Health: Laboratory Field Services' Lack of Clinical Laboratory Oversight Places the Public at Risk (Release Date: September 2008)

Recommendation #7 To: Public Health, Department of

This recommendation has been superseded by a recommendation from a subsequent report. See 2015-507 #8.

Public Health, in conjunction with Laboratory Services, should ensure that Laboratory Services has sufficient resources to meet all its oversight responsibilities.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From September 2016

Laboratory Field Services (LFS) continues to make progress addressing staffing and recruitment issues for the program. LFS implemented the recruitment event calendar and made progress on the recruitment plan reported in the March 2016 update to this audit. LFS also revised numerous policies and procedures and workflow processes to optimize use of clerical and analytical support for administrative functions. This frees examiners to focus on the clinical technical aspects of their job. In September 2016, LFS provided a job offer to a candidate for LFS Branch Chief, and has hired two Examiners (an Examiner I and an Examiner III), a Supervising Program Technician II, and a Program Technician II.

LFS has approved two additional Accreditation Organizations (AO) applications during SFY 2015/2016. This enables the AOs to perform more inspections and complaint investigations for effective oversight of labs. The required routine clinical laboratory facility inspections will be performed by AOs or in coordination with LFS federal Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments surveys.

Rather than acquiring a consultant to develop a succession plan, LFS will work with the Department's Human Resources Branch, Office of Quality Performance and Accreditation, and CalHR to develop a succession plan specific to LFS's recruitment and retention needs. It's anticipated that this could be completed by July 2017.

  • Estimated Completion Date: July 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: See 2015-507 #8 for the most current assessment


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2014

The status of this recommendation is unchanged.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 9/2015

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Not Fully Implemented


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2013

In 2009, SB 744 (Strickland, Chapter 201, Statutes of 2009), authorized a sliding fee schedule for laboratory license fees and increased phlebotomy certification fees. Laboratory Field Services (LFS) expected to use the additional $3.5 million dollars generated by SB 744 to provide the resources necessary to meet LFS oversight responsibilities.

LFS continues to identify new Examiner candidates and recruit to fill the remaining 11 vacant Examiner positions. Because Examiner salaries are 30-50 percent lower than those for comparable positions in the private sector, LFS continues to work with CDPH Human Resources Branch to implement a recruitment and retention bonus by fall 2014. LFS is also working with CalHR to remove the requirement for supervisory experience for entry level Examiners to allow more scientists to qualify for the Examiner series. We anticipate completion of this change by June 30, 2015.

  • Estimated Completion Date: June 30, 2015

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Not Fully Implemented


Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2012

In 2009, SB 744 (Strickland, Chapter 201, Statutes of 2009), authorized a sliding fee schedule for laboratory license fees and increased phlebotomy certification fees. LFS expected to use the additional $3.5 million dollars generated by SB 744 to provide the resources necessary to meet LFS oversight responsibilities.

In 2010, LFS received budget change approval to add 35.5 additional Examiner and program support staff. However, budget cuts in 2012 resulted in the loss of 17 vacant Examiner positions and 5 vacant support staff positions. In addition, LFS lost 17 retired annuitant support staff pursuant to the mandate to eliminate such staff. LFS will need to re-establish and fill these positions to conduct all mandated activities. LFS continues to work on a recruitment and retention bonus proposal that will enhance its ability to recruit and retain qualified candidates.

  • Estimated Completion Date: June 2015

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Not Fully Implemented


All Recommendations in 2007-040

Agency responses received after June 2013 are posted verbatim.


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