CRI Receives $1.5 MILLION Cooperative Agreement Award To Improve Waived Testing Practices

James LigginsSeptember 8, 2016

Contact: Melissa Nichols • Alvare Associates • 610-520-6140 x 204


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Project Designed to Promote Patient Safety 

 COLUMBIA, MD – COLA Resources, Inc. (CRI), the educational subsidiary of COLA, announced that it was awarded a $1.5 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to improve waived testing performance and outcomes at Certificate of Waiver (CW) sites nationwide.

The five-year project is intended to support and expand the efforts of stakeholder partners such as the CDC, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and others to instill quality practices and recommendations at CW sites in order to improve patient safety and health outcomes.

The Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) requires that waived tests must be simple and have a low risk for an incorrect result. However, this does not mean waived tests are completely error-proof. To decrease the likelihood of incorrect results, waived testing needs to be performed correctly, by trained personnel and in an environment where good testing practices are followed. Since 1992, waived testing has increased significantly, with the number of testing analytes increasing from 9 in 1993 to 93 in 2015, representing over 8,000 waived test systems.  At the same time, the number of facilities with a Certificate of Waiver has grown from fewer than 70,000 in 1993 to more than 180,000 in 2015. These sites include pediatric, urology, family physician and internal medicine practices as well as urgent care clinics and other primary care sites.

“This cooperative agreement project is designed to support and expand resources and best practice recommendations to instill quality practices in Certificate of Waiver sites,” said James Liggins, Chief Executive Officer of CRI. “As a long-time advocate for increasing educational opportunities for both Certificate of Waiver sites and personnel, with the goal of ensuring quality testing and patient care, CRI is very proud to have been selected by the CDC to spearhead this process,” he added.

“This proposed cooperative agreement project is intended to support and expand the efforts of the laboratory and stakeholder organizations to instill quality practices in CW sites nationwide and to improve patient safety and health outcomes,” said Heather Stang, Health Scientist in the Division of Laboratory Systems, CDC.  “We look forward to the collaboration with CRI to improve WT performance and quality monitoring,” she added.

As part of the grant project, CRI will:

  • Develop and/or expand systems, including a special information portal, which will include information on regulatory requirements and good laboratory practices; training/ educational materials; and quality improvement (QI) tools and resources
  • Conduct assessments on practices and waived testing performance in CW sites to identify areas needing improvement
  • Increase CW sites’ participation in quality assessment and QI activities

Long-term, the project is intended to decrease inappropriate performance and use of waived tests at CW sites, and to improve the use of waived test results for making healthcare decisions.

About COLA Resources, Inc. (CRI)

CRI is a leader in online continuing education for physicians, laboratory personnel and allied health professionals.  CRI offers continuing education through online courses, informational products in both electronic and hard copy form, webinars on cutting-edge technology and regulatory issues, and CRI Symposia for Clinical Laboratories, providing live educational sessions and interactive workshops with leading industry organizations. For more information, visit their website at, or call 1-800-981-9883.


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