Public Health Laboratory

Tulare County Public Health Laboratory from HHSACommunity on Vimeo.

The Tulare County Public Health Laboratory (TCPHL) provides laboratory services that protect, promote, and improve the health and well-being of the people of Tulare County. We do this through the 11 Core Functions. (Existing partners, please click here for a list of our services and pricing.)

Below are some examples of how we fulfill these core functions for our communities:

  • Disease Prevention, Control, and Surveillance: Our laboratory is both a clinical and environmental laboratory. We test approximately 30,000 environmental and clinical samples per year to assist with disease prevention, control, and surveillance.
  • Integrated Data Management: The TCPHL maintains electronic interfaces with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) CalREDIE system, the Centers for Disease Control and Surveillance (CDC) LIMSi system, and our county clinics’ electronic health records to enable rapid reporting and response.
  • Reference and Specialized Testing: As a public health laboratory in California, the TCPHL is authorized to conduct tests using emergency use authorizations, which enables rapid response to new and emerging infectious diseases. The TCPHL is also connected with other local public health labs, CDPH labs, and CDC labs to access reference and specialized testing that is difficult obtain in regular commercial labs.
  • Environmental Health and Protection: The TCPHL conducts drinking water, recreational water, and wastewater testing for sites throughout Tulare County.
  • Food Safety: The Public Health Lab conducts dairy quality testing and can test food items in response to outbreaks of foodborne illness.
  • Laboratory Improvement and Regulation: The TCPHL has implemented continuous quality improvement strategies, like Lean, to ensure high-quality services are provided efficiently and effectively.
  • Policy Development: Through our partners at the California Association of Public Health Laboratory Directors (CAPHLD), CDPH, and the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), our lab is involved in policymaking designed to improve the quality of laboratory services in the United States.
  • Emergency Response: The TCPHL is a Laboratory Response Network regional reference lab that serves the entire southern San Joaquin Valley, including the counties of Tulare, Kings, Kern, Fresno, Madera, and Merced. We are the only lab in this region currently authorized and able to test suspicious substances for agents of bioterrorism. This requires a close partnership with first responders and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). We receive special funding from the state in order to provide these services to the region.
  • Public Health-Related Research: Our Public Health Lab stays current on new research and technology that can lead to improved laboratory service delivery. 
  • Training and Education: The TCPHL is approved by CDPH to conduct training for Public Health Microbiologists in California. The TCPHL also partners with one of our local hospitals to assist with Clinical Laboratory Scientist training. In addition, the TCPHL provides periodic training opportunities for local hospital lab staff in topics such as Packaging & Shipping Division 6.2 Hazardous Materials.
  • Partnerships and Communication: In addition to partnerships with our local hospitals, clinics, and first responders, the TCPHL belongs to statewide and national surveillance networks, such as MeaslesNet, Norovirus Laboratory Network, Respiratory Laboratory Network, and the Food Emergency Response Network. We are also members of CAPHLD and APHL. Our laboratory staff are proud to provide services to our communities, which wouldn't be possible without our internal and external partnerships!

Please see the links below for more information.

Related Documents and Links

Eleven Core Functions of Public Health Laboratories
Eleven Core Functions of Public Health Laboratories

Click here to read more about Public Health Labs' core functions.

Recognizing the Tulare County Public Health Lab (VIDEO)
Recognizing the Tulare County Public Health Lab (VIDEO)

Tulare County HHSA recognizes and celebrates its staff during National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week (April 22-28). Our Public Health Laboratory serves as a regional reference for the entire southern San Joaquin Valley. HHSA’s lab has a statewide reputation for outstanding public service. Click on this link to view the video about its facilities and accomplishments.

Student Volunteers Help Implement LEAN in Tulare County Lab
Student Volunteers Help Implement LEAN in Tulare County Lab

In 2013, Tulare County Public Health Laboratory received one of four grants from APHL to implement LEAN at its facility within one year. LEAN is a comprehensive strategy for ongoing, continuous improvement of laboratory service effectiveness and efficiency that requires a significant investment of time for implementation. Over the year, the lab welcomed 11 student volunteers offering them more than 150 hours of professional experience.

Thinking Big in Tulare County, CA: Giant Trees, Large-scale Farms, and a Grand Year for the PHL
Thinking Big in Tulare County, CA: Giant Trees, Large-scale Farms, and a Grand Year for the PHL

Click here for an article on Tulare County's Public Health Lab, published in the Fall 2013 edition of Lab Matters, a publication of the Association of Public Health Laboratories.

Tulare County Public Health Lab's LEAN Journey
Tulare County Public Health Lab's LEAN Journey

Tulare County Public Health Laboratory (TCPHL) received an exciting grant, administered through the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), to implement Lean practices that improve laboratory efficiency. Combining Lean concepts with a strong IT solution has achieved measurable improvements in quality and cost savings at TCPHL. Read all about it by clicking this link.


Agency News

2018 Walk with a Doc Program

2018 Walk with a Doc Program

Walk with a Doc is a free community outreach program, which strives to encourage healthy physical activity in people of all ages. Each month a different health topic will be covered. 

New Partnership and Pilot Program to Benefit Homeless

New Partnership and Pilot Program to Benefit Homeless

The Visalia Police Department and Tulare County Mental Health are excited to announce the launch of a pilot partnership that focuses on identifying and providing outreach and immediate services to individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. 

 

 

Board Appoints Lutz as Director of HHSA

Board Appoints Lutz as Director of HHSA

The Tulare County Board of Supervisors has appointed Timothy Lutz as the Director of Tulare County Health & Human Services Agency (HHSA) effective January 7, 2019.