Published: June 16, 2005

The University of Colorado at Boulder's Wardenburg Health Center has received accreditation from the College of American Pathologists based on the results of a recent on-site inspection.

Inspectors from the College of American Pathologists Laboratory Accreditation Program examined Wardenburg's records and quality control of procedures for two years, and reviewed the health center staff's qualifications, lab equipment, lab management, facilities and safety program and record.

The College of American Pathologists' stringent inspection program is designed to specifically ensure the highest standard of care for laboratory patients. The college is the largest organization of its type in the world, and is widely considered the leader in laboratory quality assurance.

"We couldn't achieve accreditation without the dedication of the laboratory staff," said Dr. Tom Kunstman, Wardenburg lab director. "All staff - from phlebotomist to medical technologist to administrative staff to work-study students - have responsibilities for knowing safe lab procedures and meeting accreditation standards for testing."

Wardenburg Health Center provides a variety of healthcare services including treatment in primary care, occupational health, allergy, travel clinic, immunization services and minor surgery. Wardenburg also has departments of sports medicine, psychological health and psychiatry, women's health, community health, a dental clinic and diagnostic services such as radiology and laboratory tests.

"Accreditation means more to us than getting a passing score," said Wardenburg lab manager Jan Mussler. "Quality lab operations are a discipline, continuously practiced and improved. This is achieved through the extensive collection of data, review of policy and procedures, updating of instrumentation, and continuing education and training of staff.

"The College of American Pathologists provides excellent guidance and consultation aimed at improving lab and patient safety while helping the lab meet federal regulatory requirements for a laboratory license," Mussler said.

The Laboratory Accreditation Program, begun in the early 1960s, is recognized by the federal government as being equal to or more stringent than the government's own inspection program.

Wardenburg Health Center is one of more than 6,000 CAP-accredited laboratories nationwide.