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Bureau of Laboratories

Bureau of Laboratories buildingServices include patient testing for sexually transmitted diseases and well-child tests, and reference services for sophisticated or uncommon agents for other laboratories in South Carolina. To assure quality testing, the laboratory is fully certified by Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment 1988, Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, NIOSH, College of American Pathologists, and National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program and participates in proficiency testing in all areas where programs are available.

Laboratory assessments are provided to determine effectiveness of intervention programs. Training and consultation activities aimed at improving the quality of laboratory service and health care statewide are also available.

Access to services is provided through the county health department system. A statewide courier system assures that lab results are returned in a timely manner and the laboratory is linked electronically with all county health departments and 22 of the state's largest hospitals.

The public is served through surveillance and monitoring activities to assure the public's health and through assistance to communities with health related problems by providing laboratory support essential for detection of new diseases or the spread of old ones.

The Bureau of Laboratories accomplishes these multiple functions through:

  • Providing over 100,000 tests a year in support of maternal and child health programs.
  • Performing over 150,000 tests each year for infections with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other sexually transmitted diseases in support of public and private attempts to control the spread of this infection.
  • Providing testing for over 90 percent of tuberculosis patients in South Carolina, both public and private, without charge. This system forms the basis of a statewide registry used by the DHEC Division of Tuberculosis Control, charged with controlling TB in South Carolina.
  • Providing screening for correctable metabolic disorders on all newborns and testing for lead intoxication in children and their environment to prevent loss of human potential.
  • Testing of milk sold in South Carolina for purity and wholesomeness.
  • Providing services to identify the source and cause of outbreaks of food poisoning, thereby identifying ways in which the food handling businesses in South Carolina can improve their operation and provide a safe quality product.

The large number of procedures performed, combined with aggressive cost containment and sophisticated cost accounting, assure a highly competitive fee structure for our customers. While modest fees may be charged for some tests, testing is free for indigent patients seen by private physicians. Any fees are almost always well within Medicare reimbursable rates.

Screening programs utilizing a laboratory component repeatedly have been shown to be an efficient and cost effective way to interrupt the cycle of many illnesses and conditions of personal and public importance.

Bureau of Laboratories
SC Department of Health and Environmental Control
8231 Parklane Road
Columbia, SC 29223
Telephone: (803)896-0800
Fax: (803) 896-0983