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Skip Navigation LinksPennsylvania Department of Health > Your Dept of Health > Offices and Bureaus > Laboratories
Bureau of Laboratories

Dongxiang Xia, MD, PhD, D(ABMM), SV(ASCP)
Bureau Director
James R. Lute, PhD
Assistant Bureau Director
Mission Statement
To provide clinical laboratory testing, advice, consultation and quality assurance standards to all who require or deliver medical diagnostic services; to assure services are accurate, timely, state-of-the-art, cost effective, and delivered in a responsive and courteous manner.
The Bureau of Laboratories operates the state public health lab and regulates clinical laboratories serving the citizens of Pennsylvania. The laboratory supports disease prevention through the provision of investigatory, diagnostic, and confirmatory testing for both infectious and non-infectious diseases. Routine testing provides information necessary for patient care and aids in monitoring ongoing public health concerns in Pennsylvania.

The Bureau of Laboratories is composed of the following three divisions:
 Jennifer Okraska
Division Director
The Division of Chemistry and Toxicology works with various state and private agencies to monitor lead levels in children, oversees the Pennsylvania Newborn Screening Testing Program for inherited metabolic disorders, administers toxicology proficiency testing and performs alcohol and drug testing on persons involved in fatal traffic accidents.  The division also tests clinical specimens and environmental samples to determine possible exposure to chemical agents potentially used in a terrorist event.
 Lisa Dettinger, MT(ASCP)
   Division Director
The Division of Clinical Microbiology performs bacteriology, virology and mycobacteriology testing for HIV, influenza, Lyme disease, tuberculosis, foodborne outbreak investigations, meningitis, West Nile encephalitis, Legionnaires' disease, rabies, sexually transmitted diseases and other conditions of public health significance.
Debra Tyler, BS, MT(ASCP), MPH
Division Director
The Division of Laboratory Improvement implements state and federal laboratory licensure laws, which apply to Pennsylvania's over 9,000 clinical laboratories. On-site inspections, proficiency assessment and personnel training are utilized to ensure laboratories generate accurate and reliable results. The division also collects data regarding the testing of sexual assault evidence as required by the Pennsylvania Sexual Assault Testing and Evidence Collection Act. Further information on the implementation of that Act is available here.

Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the Bureau of Laboratories and what are its hours of operation?
The bureau is located in Exton, Pennsylvania, approximately 30 miles west of Philadelphia and two and a half miles south of Exit 312 of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Its normal hours of operation are 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday. There is 24-hour-a-day, seven-days-a-week coverage for critical tests such as rabies and for response to public health emergencies.
How do I know what testing is available at the Bureau of Laboratories?
See the Directory of Services for information on the tests performed at the bureau.

Is testing available to the general public?
Most of the testing done at the bureau is coordinated through the Department of Health's state health centers, epidemiologists, individual public health programs or local health departments and is not available to the general public. You can call the bureau with questions and will be referred to the appropriate Department of Health office. See the Division of Chemistry and Toxicology Contact Information and the Division of Clinical Microbiology Contact Information documents for more information.

The public may submit animals for rabies testing when a human being has been exposed to an animal that may have rabies. See the Rabies page for information on submission.
How do I obtain a copy of the Bureau of Laboratories' CLIA certificate?
An image of the bureau's current CLIA certificate, which includes its CLIA number, is available here.
How do I find out if the laboratory that is performing my test is reliable?
The bureau can tell you whether a laboratory is licensed and in good standing under the state and federal regulations. More detailed information about a laboratory's most recent inspection is available but we ask that you make a formal, written request to examine the files.

How do I get a copy of my laboratory results?
It is always best to work with your physician in obtaining and interpreting laboratory results. However, you may request a copy of your results from the laboratory that performed the test. The laboratory will usually ask you to submit your request in writing.

What should I do if I have a problem with a laboratory?
If you are concerned about the quality of laboratory testing, or about a safety issue, call the bureau to file a complaint. All complaints are investigated.

How do I obtain more information about Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL)?