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University of Iowa News Release


Jan. 31, 2007

Federal Inspection Gives University Hygienic Lab's CLIA Program Top Marks

Federal inspectors gave Iowa's Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) program perfect scores in nearly every category during a recent annual review.

By law, all non-research laboratories that conduct moderate and/or high-complexity testing must be certified through a CLIA survey or through an alternative accrediting agency.

Each state's CLIA program is overseen by a designated state agency. The University Hygienic Laboratory (UHL) in Iowa City and Ankeny serves as the CLIA program's agency for Iowa.

"The UHL's performance in this review is very important," said UHL Interim Director Chris Atchison. "Congress passed the CLIA reforms to help ensure that the laboratory tests people rely on to identify health conditions are accurate. The UHL is key in delivering on this Congressional promise for the health of all Iowans."

During 2006, UHL conducted on-site CLIA proficiency testing for 141 labs that perform moderate and/or high complexity tests and surveyed an additional 35 facilities that conduct "waived" (less complex) tests throughout the state.

The performance of each CLIA agency is reviewed once a year by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which performed the recent evaluation of UHL. CMS administers the CLIA laboratory certification program in conjunction with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The University Hygienic Laboratory is the state of Iowa's environmental and public health laboratory, with facilities located on the University of Iowa's Oakdale Campus in Iowa City and at the Iowa Lab Facilities in Ankeny, a Des Moines suburb. Among its many services, the laboratory functions as a consultative and analytical support facility for state agencies, health professionals and citizens. UHL is part of the UI and has developed and maintained effective and productive collaborations with the Iowa Department of Public Health, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Geological Survey, and local public health agencies. The UHL performs analyses on samples from virtually all matrices, including human clinical specimens, air, drinking water, wastewater, soil, sediment, industrial effluents, oil and fish. In addition to performing analyses by specified methods, the UHL provides methods development and procedure verification for non-routine analyses. Additional information about UHL, its programs and services is available online at

STORY SOURCE: University Hygienic Laboratory, 102 Oakdale Campus, H101 OH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-5002

MEDIA CONTACT: Pat Blake, 319-335-4177,

PHOTOS: Photos of the University Hygienic Laboratory are available by contacting Pat Blake at 319-335-4177