Supervisor Kate Sears here inviting you to attend two public meetings regarding changes to the Marin Co. Public Health Laboratory. See attached for details.

Changes to Marin County Public Health Laboratory

Proposed Regionalized Public Health Laboratory Services

 

San Rafael, CA – The Marin County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is evaluating whether Marin County should participate in a regionalized public health laboratory service. The department is seeking comment from the public, community practitioners, state associations, employees, neighboring counties and laboratory professionals as one step in the deliberations.

 

“A regional lab will allow Marin County to have the full resources of an experienced lab available in times of disaster and disease outbreaks even though the day-to-day demand for Marin County alone is relatively low. It would take advantage of the current regional relationships being developed among Sonoma, Mendocino, and Lake Counties and follow the path set by other neighboring counties, such as Napa and Solano,” said Craig Lindquist, M.D., PhD, Interim Public Health Officer for Marin County.

 

The proposal will be addressed at two upcoming public meetings:

  • The Department of Health and Human Services will conduct a forum on the proposed regional laboratory on Tuesday, March 20, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Marin County Office of Education, 1111 Las Gallinas Avenue San Rafael
  • The Marin County Board of Supervisors (BOS) will discuss the proposal during the BOS March 27th, 2012 meeting

At both of these meetings, staff will present their findings and recommendations with opportunity for public comments.

 

Changes to county and safety net clinical services in Marin have significantly reduced the volume of services provided by the Marin County Public Health Laboratory. Public health laboratories, including Marin County’s Public Health

-more-

 

Laboratory, conduct laboratory tests and analyses for communicable disease

outbreaks; screen for agents of bioterrorism in the event of a disaster; and serve as a reference lab for local hospitals. The labs also test for environmental risks and foodborne illness outbreaks, tick identification and the detection of respiratory viruses. There are 58 counties in California and 33 county public health laboratories.

 

“For 58 years, the Marin County Public Health Laboratory has provided excellent service to the community,” said Larry Meredith, PhD, Director of Health and Human Services. “We appreciate the ongoing work of laboratory staff to protect and serve our community,” said Meredith. Like many counties, Marin has been faced with the challenge of limited resources. Marin County first conducted feasibility studies on joining with a nearby County along with careful analysis of its Public Health Laboratory. The March 20th and March 27th discussions will outline the proposed regional relationship.

 

A public health laboratory regional relationship would meet all state and federal statutes, licensing requirements and performance standards along with continued provision of all laboratory and clinical tests currently available at the Marin County Public Health Laboratory. Testing services would continue with substantially the same turn-around times for test results, and in compliance with all testing time requirements. The regional relationship would provide assurance of continued “surge” capacity for a disaster. Marin County could take advantage of the current regional relationships being developed among Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake Counties with annual savings of approximately $300,000 a year.

 

The letter to the Board of Supervisors with staff report will be available on March 22nd at http://www.co.marin.ca.us/efiles/BS/AgMn/cybagnda.htm. For more information on the Public Health Laboratory, please visit www.co.marin.ca.us/depts/HH/main/hs/lab.cfm.

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