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Laboratory Field Services

Clinical Laboratory Complaints Program

Laboratory Field Services receives hundreds of clinical laboratory complaints each year. This page provides links to information about how to file a complaint, how a complaint is handled and how to contact us.

How Complaints are Handled

When Laboratory Field Services receives a complaint, an initial review of the allegations and documents submitted is performed. After an initial review,  the complaint is handled in one of two ways:

  • If there is a potential for patient harm, immediate action is initiated in whatever manner is deemed appropriate to ensure that public health and safety is protected. This may involve both Laboratory Field Services personnel and, if necessary, outside agencies.
  • If there is not an immediate threat of patient harm, the complaint is assigned a complaint tracking number and entered into the Laboratory Field Services complaint tracking database system.  The complaint allegation is then evaluated by the compliance unit of Laboratory Field Services to determine the most effective approach to investigate and resolve the issue. Complaint allegations are either investigated by Laboratory Field Services, or referred to another agency if appropriate. 

Some of the agencies that Laboratory Field Services refers complaints to, and/or collaborates with in complaint investigations include the Medical Board of California, other California Department of Public Health agencies (Center for Health Care Quality, Center for Infectious Disease), California Department of Health Care Services, Audits and Investigations, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CLIA complaints), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, local law enforcement agencies, and other government agencies as appropriate.

Please be aware that some investigations take a prolonged period of time to gather facts and evidence, and in some cases, complaint allegations are not substantiated.  For confidentiality reasons, we are unable to discuss details of complaint investigations.

How to File a Complaint

If you would like to submit a complaint about possible State-regulated laboratory issues to LFS, please follow these instructions:

  1. Download and complete form LAB 163.
  2. Submit the completed form to LFS via e-mail at lfslabcomplaints@cdph.ca.gov.  Forms may also be faxed to (213) 620-6565, or mailed to Laboratory Field Services at the address below:
        California Department of Public Health
        Laboratory Field Services - Complaints
        320 W 4th Street, Suite 890
        Los Angeles, CA 90013

Please include any supporting documentation, so that Laboratory Field Services can conduct a thorough review of the complaint.  All complaints are kept secure and confidential. Once your complaint is received and documented, LFS will notify you of the receipt of your complaint via mail or email, if contact information has been provided. Complainants may exercise the option to submit complaints anonymously.

 

Please be advised that investigations and their timelines are sensitive and confidential. They are not publicly disclosable under the California Government Code section 6245(f). Thank you for bringing your concerns to the attention of Laboratory Field Services.

 

Please Note: Laboratory Field Services (LFS) is the regulatory agency for clinical laboratories and clinical laboratory personnel only. Therefore, LFS has no authority to investigate complaints or incidents that do not involve clinical laboratory testing. Also, LFS cannot assist in resolving billing disputes or errors, issues related to medical doctors, dentists, and radiology and such. Should you wish to pursue resolution of these types of complaints, please visit the Complaints Regarding California Health Care webpage (http://archive.cdph.ca.gov/services/Pages/ComplaintsCaliforniaHealthCare.aspx)

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