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COLA Forms Alliance with American College of Physicians and Medical Laboratory Evaluation Proficiency Testing

Alliance to Provide Integrated Services to Improve Laboratory Medicine Care

Columbia, Md., and Philadelphia (March 11, 2004) - COLA, a national healthcare accreditation organization, together with the American College of Physicians (ACP) and ACP Services' Medical Laboratory Evaluation proficiency testing service, have formed a cooperative alliance to help internists provide a turnkey solution to quality laboratory medicine care that meets CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments) requirements. CLIA, which passed in 1988, established federal standards for all laboratory testing to ensure the accuracy, reliability, and timeliness of test results.

COLA will provide ACP and/or MLE members with a comprehensive service package that bundles laboratory accreditation, E-learning courses, and educational products with MLE's proficiency testing at a significant cost savings over other service providers. For physicians practicing internal medicine and operating laboratories, these integrated products and services provide an efficient means of meeting necessary accreditation requirements while enhancing professional knowledge using the latest industry developments. The MLE program will provide qualifying COLA and ACP members with a discount on initial enrollment in the MLE proficiency testing program.

"Through this partnership, we are able to deliver the best integrated package at a price that gives internists an economic and professional advantage," said Douglas A. Beigel, Chief Executive Officer of COLA.

The combination of COLA's and ACP's products and services will provide a cost-effective solution to internists so they can focus their attention on providing the best medical care rather than spending valuable time coordinating all of the compliance requirements. "Physicians are very often short on time, but they need to keep up to date with the latest developments in laboratory medicine," said John Mitas, MD, FACP, Deputy Executive Vice President and COO of the American College of Physicians. "The cooperative alliance enhances our ability to offer members the highest quality of resources available."

More information about COLA accreditation services and educational products may be obtained by calling 800-981-9883 or by visiting COLA's Web Site at www.cola.org. For more information on COLA's on-line healthcare educational opportunities visit www.labuniversity.org. For a catalog or more information on MLE's proficiency testing program, continuing education or other products and services, MLE may be reached at 1-800-338-2746, option 5; or by e-mail at mle@acponline.org; or by visiting visit MLE's comprehensive Web site at www.acponline.org/mle.

COLA is a nonprofit, physician-directed organization promoting quality and excellence in medicine and patient care through programs of voluntary education, achievement, and accreditation. COLA has completed over 33,000 laboratory surveys.

ACP's Medical Laboratory Evaluation (MLE) program provides proficiency testing for medical laboratories worldwide. Such testing is a major component of a good quality assurance program and remains the standard of competency most heavily weighed by regulatory inspectors. MLE is part of American College of Physicians Services, Inc.

The American College of Physicians (ACP) is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include more than 115,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internists specialize in the prevention, detection and treatment of illnesses in adults, reflected in the organization's trademarked phrase "Doctors of Internal Medicine. Doctors for Adults."

Erik Greenwald, COLA; 410-381-6581; egreenwald@cola.org
Jack Pope, ACP; 202-261-4556; jpope@acponline.org

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