Passing the test: VMC lab staff delivers accuracy and compassion

 

The clinical lab scientists of Visalia Medical Clinic’s lab live among robots, tubes and computers all day.

But the technology never overpowers the human element of their work. These highly skilled scientists learn test results before patients do – whether good or bad.

“I remember seeing the test results on a six-year-old and knowing that he had leukemia,” said Allen Price, MHL, CLS, who oversees the lab and its 15 employees.

“It was just heart-wrenching,” he recalled. “But we also get to see the results when the patient is improving. Our phlebotomists develop relationships because they see some patients more often than their physician does. Many patients consider our staff part of their family.”

Price is clearly proud of his staff and the work they do. His staff of “brilliant” clinical lab scientists has an average of 30 years of experience.

He also has “the best” phlebotomists – experienced and compassionate.
Beyond the caring and technically skilled staff of the VMC lab is the sophisticated technology that delivers accurate results.


““Fifty to 70 percent of a doctor’s decisions are based on lab results,” Price noted, “so we have to be sure that our results are accurate.” Each day begins with staff going through a detailed checklist to ensure that the state-of-the-art equipment and materials are ready and functioning properly. Independent companies periodically send materials for the VMC lab to test as a means of testing the accuracy of the equipment. The lab’s work is scored and high scores are expected – and achieved.

“VMC invests in people and instrumentation, which results in an effective lab and camaraderie among the staff,” Price added. “Almost 40 percent of our patients are not patients of the Clinic, but they choose to come here for their lab work.”

VMC Lab by the numbers
•Over 600,000 tests per year
• Half a million patient results in the database
• 3500 physicians have referred patients
• 600 microbiology cultures a month

 

Fact Box

What is a required of a clinical lab scientist?
• Bachelor of Science
• One-year externship in a clinical facility
• Successful completion of a national exam
• Licensed by the State of California
• Annual license recertification
• Mandatory continuing education

What is required of a phlebotomist?
• Training at a state-approved school
• Successful completion of a national exam
• Licensed by the State of California
• Annual recertification
• Continuing education

 

Delivering convenience

The in-clinic lab is open 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and the clinic is fully staffed on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.


Off-site labs are offered in Lindsay and in downtown Visalia.

• Lindsay Medical Clinic draw station: 
833 N. Sequoia, Lindsay
562-1222
• Willow Plaza draw station
100 Willow Plaza, Suite 210
732-5794
• Visalia Court Street
1912 S. Court, Suite B
741-9297