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Psychiatric laboratory receives accreditation (10/3/97)

Based on the results of a recent on-site inspection, the University Psychopharmacology Laboratory (UPL) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio has been awarded a two-year accreditation by the commission on laboratory accreditation of the College of American Pathologists (CAP).

Martin A. Javors, PhD, director of the laboratory and associate professor in the department of psychiatry at the Health Science Center, was advised of this national recognition and congratulated for the "excellence of the services being provided." The UPL is one of more than 5,000 CAP-accredited laboratories nationwide.

"The laboratory currently performs about 250 tests each month," Dr. Javors says. "Samples are sent to the lab from all over the south central Texas area.

"The inspection of our clinical laboratory is a biennial event providing an opportunity to interact with other clinical laboratory scientists, and also enabling us to learn more about clinical lab procedures," Dr. Javors says. "The goal of UPL is to provide accurate quantitation of psychotropic drug levels in plasma of psychiatric patients. By achieving this goal, we help the psychiatrists optimize medication treatment regimens for their patients."

The CAP laboratory accreditation program, begun in the early 1960s, is an advocate for high-quality and cost-effective medical care and is recognized by the federal government as being equal to or more stringent than the government's own program. Inspectors examine the records and quality control of the laboratory for the preceding two years, the education and qualifications of the total staff, adequacy of the facilities, equipment, laboratory safety and laboratory management to determine how well the laboratory is serving the patient.

"The inspection, in which all of the pathology labs in the university participate," Dr. Javors says, "helps us perform service to the medical community with proper quality control and quality assurance procedures. The Health Care and Financing Administration (HCFA) is the federal agency that oversees clinical laboratories in the United States. The successful completion of the CAP inspection allows our lab to be certified by HCFA."

The University Psychopharmacology Laboratory staff includes Dr. Javors, Leo Delallo, Cecilia Garza, MD, Staci Cavness, and Jesus Sanchez, who spend about half their time completing tests and doing the paperwork required, according to Dr. Javors.

In addition, Charles Bowden, MD, interim chairman of the department of psychiatry, provides valuable support through his clinical experience with psychotropic medications.

The College of American Pathologists is a medical society serving more than 14,500 physician members and the laboratory community throughout the world. It is the world's largest association composed exclusively of pathologists and is widely considered the leader in laboratory quality assurance.

Contact: Jan Elkins (210) 567-2570