Clinical Laboratory Reporting and Specimen Submission Guidelines
For more information, contact Epidemiology at 619-692-8499.
Note: This webpage describes the laboratory reporting requirements contained in the California Code of Regulations Title 17, including Section 2505, as well as local requirements for submitting specimens and laboratory test results suggestive of specified diseases of public health importance to the local health department. Laboratory findings for these diseases are those that satisfy the most recent communicable disease surveillance case definitions established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (unless otherwise specified in this section). All laboratory notifications are acquired in confidence. The confidentiality of patient information is always protected.
The information on this webpage is available for download by clicking this link Clinical Laboratory Reporting and Specimen Submission Guidelines (PDF).
NOTIFICATION BY LABORATORY
Section 2505 (a) To assist the health officer, the laboratory director, or the laboratory director’s designee, of a clinical laboratory, an approved public health laboratory or a veterinary laboratory in which a laboratory examination of any specimen derived from the human body (or from an animal, in the case of specified diseases) yields microscopical, cultural, immunological, serological, or other evidence suggestive of those diseases listed in subsections (e)(1) and (e)(2) below, shall report such findings to the health officer of the local health jurisdiction where the health care provider who first submitted the specimen is located.
HOW TO REPORT
Laboratory reports must be made in writing and give the following information:
- Date the specimen was obtained
- Patient identification number
- Specimen accession number or other unique specimen identifier
- Laboratory findings for the test performed
- Date that any positive laboratory findings were identified
- Name, gender, address, telephone number (if known), and date of birth of the patient
- Name, address, and telephone number of the health care provider who ordered the test
Send laboratory reports to Epidemiology via fax 858-715-6458 or electronic laboratory reporting.
WHEN TO REPORT
These laboratory findings are reportable to the local health officer of the health jurisdiction where the health care provider who first submitted the specimen is located within one (1) hour (List (e)(1) diseases) or within one (1) working day (List (e)(2) diseases) from the time that the laboratory notifies that health care provider or other person authorized to receive the report. If the laboratory that makes the positive finding received the specimen from another laboratory, the laboratory making the positive finding shall notify the local health officer of the jurisdiction in which the health care provider is located within the time specified above from the time the laboratory notifies the referring laboratory that submitted the specimen. If the laboratory is an out-of-state laboratory, the California laboratory that receives a report of such findings shall notify the local health officer in the same way as if the finding had been made by the California laboratory.
Whenever the specimen, or an isolate there from, is transferred between laboratories, a test requisition with the patient and submitter information shall accompany the specimen. The laboratory that first receives a specimen shall be responsible for obtaining the patient and submitter information at the time the specimen is received by that laboratory.
The notification for List (e)(1) diseases shall be reported by telephone within one (1) hour, followed by a written report submitted by electronic facsimile transmission or electronic mail within one (1) working day, to the local health officer in the jurisdiction where the health care provider who submitted the specimen is located.