Report 2007-040 Recommendation 6 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 #6 To: Public Health, Department of

To strengthen its sanctioning efforts, Laboratory Services should do the following:
Maximize its opportunities to impose sanctions.
Appropriately justify and document the amounts of the civil money penalties it imposes.
Ensure that it always collects the penalties it imposes.
Follow up to ensure that laboratories take corrective action.
Ensure that when it sanctions a laboratory it notifies other appropriate agencies as necessary.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From September 2016

Laboratory Field Services (LFS) revised its sanctioning and enforcement policies and procedures and developed a database system to track sanctions. These efforts will help LFS track deficiencies and identify opportunities to impose sanctions, document sanctions imposed and civil money penalty amounts, and document penalty collection and follow-up procedures. The new tracking system is available and accessible by authorized LFS managers to monitor and track sanctions in process. The On-Site Licensing Section Chief responsible for sanctioning efforts was hired in December 2015. LFS staff was trained on these revised sanctioning and enforcement policy and procedures on August 18, 2016. Also, LFS will notify other appropriate agencies about sanctions taken as necessary.

  • Completion Date: August 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Fully Implemented

As a result of a follow-up audit of Laboratory Field Services that the State Auditor issued in August 2015 [report 2015-507], Public Health has taken steps to address weaknesses in its sanctioning and enforcement practices including dedicating staff to these functions, updating policies and procedures, and training staff.


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

Laboratory Field Services (LFS) has developed written procedures to maximize its opportunities to impose sanctions, appropriately justify and document the amounts of the civil money penalties it imposes, ensure penalties imposed are always collected, to ensure laboratories take corrective action, and notify other appropriate agencies when we sanction laboratories. Investigations of complaints have identified issues that could result in civil money penalties.

Full implementation of these policies and procedures is pending sufficient staffing. 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

LFS has developed written procedures to maximize its opportunities to impose sanctions, appropriately justify and document the amounts of the civil money penalties it imposes, ensure penalties imposed are always collected, to ensure laboratories take corrective action, and notify other appropriate agencies when we sanction laboratories. Investigations of complaints have identified issues that could result in civil money penalties. Staffing has been insufficient to follow up.

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.

  • 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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