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Features Health & Wellness WestCare labs receive excellent COLA scores

Harris Regional Hospital’s outpatient lab, the lab at Urgent Care Sylva, and the lab at Center for Family Medicine in Franklin received outstanding scores upon a recent Commission on Office Laboratory Accreditation (COLA) inspection.

COLA is a leading accreditor of laboratory facilities, including hospital inpatient labs, physician office labs, and outpatient facility labs. The organization was founded to help laboratories ensure compliance with the guidelines of Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA), an agency of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which defines laboratory standards and regulates all laboratory testing. COLA standards are also recognized by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the leading accreditor of hospitals nationwide, and COLA is also sponsored by the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Medical Association, and the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine.

COLA accreditation is given only to laboratories that apply rigid standards of quality in operations, demonstrate continued accuracy in proficiency testing, and pass a rigorous on-site lab survey. The scores obtained by the three inspected labs clearly demonstrate the excellence and quality with which the labs are operated.

Medical technologist Kim Saunooke manages WestCare laboratories, including both Harris Regional Hospital and Swain County Hospital inpatient labs, which both received accreditation by the College of American Pathologists last year. The inpatient labs at Harris and Swain are two of only 7,000 CAP-accredited labs nationwide.

“We were very pleased with the results of the recent inspections,” Saunooke said. “The results reflect the commitment to quality and to our patients that we strive for on a daily basis.”

Pathologists Dr. Sam Davis and Dr. Larry Selby provide medical direction for WestCare laboratories.

For more information on laboratory accreditation standards, visit and

WestCare Health System was formed through a partnership of Harris Regional Hospital and Swain County Hospital in 1997 and serves Jackson, Swain, Macon and Graham counties with primary and subspecialty care, outpatient facilities and urgent care.

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