Frequently Asked Questions
When I opened my kit the specimens were warm/the ice pack was thawed. What should I do?
Upon receipt of kit, refrigerate specimens until testing. The samples are validated to be stable during normal shipping conditions without ice packs. These specimens are suitable for testing and will not be replaced unless other problems are evident. Follow individual program instructions for adjusting specimens to temperature before testing. Our samples are validated for shipping without ice packs. The ice pack is merely included to protect the samples against extreme temperatures during shipping. An ice pack will only remain frozen for about 12 – 18 hours, and is therefore expected to arrive thawed. If your samples arrived within the normal 2 day time frame from the shipping date, these specimens are suitable for testing. If samples arrive outside the 2 day time period and are visibly degraded, then contact AAB Technical Support at 800.234.5315. Any dry sample and most liquid samples will still be fine. However, we will work with you and replace any sensitive samples at no charge. If you see unusual results during testing; samples which should contain intact cells are grossly hemolysed, most values detected are extremely low, sample errors are reported by your instrument, please contact Technical Support as quickly as possible. We will also replace those samples, but only if you contact us before the published deadline to allow ample time for replacements to be sent to you.
What do I do if the samples arrive broken?
How do I select the correct module for Hematology?
Click here to select the proper Hematology programs. Use this tool to determine which program is appropriate for your hematology analyzer. The Program Guide matches programs with analyzers. Call the Technical Support at 800.234.5315 and request assistance or email us.
What do the #, ?, *, @, Dc, Er, Wv and ND symbols mean on my graded report?
A legend is included at the bottom of your results page which explains these symbols. The table below expands on the explanations.
|#||This result was not graded due to an insufficient number of method peer respondents. No appropriate default grouping was available and you received a default score of 100 for this specimen. The listed range should provide a reasonable guide to your performance. However, exercise caution when evaluating your result. You need to review this result to make sure that you can defend your response as accurate. Generally, if your result is within the given acceptable range, at a minimum a documented QA/QC review is required. Typical additional studies include split patient and known value material testing. Contact your Surveyor from your CLIA deemed regulatory body to determine if any other action is required. If you are outside the given acceptable range, you either need to justify why this range is not appropriate or treat this as a miss requiring corrective action.|
|?||This score may not truly evaluate performance for this specimen which was not graded because of a lack of participant consensus. You have received a default score of 100 for this sample because our statistical checks indicated your group was not valid. You need to review this result to make sure that you can defend your response as accurate. Generally, if your result is within the given acceptable range, at a minimum a documented QA/QC review is required. Typical additional studies include split patient and know value material testing. Contact your Surveyor from your CLIA deemed regulatory body to determine if any other action is required. If you are outside the given acceptable range, you either need to justify why this range is not appropriate or treat this as a miss requiring corrective action.|
|*||Out of range or incorrect response. This is a miss. Corrective action is required on your part.|
|@||Unable to report due to technical difficulty. You were unable to obtain results and notified us that you had difficulties in performing testing on the sample. This is a null response and does not count for or against your grade.|
|DC||Dc is short for discontinued. You received this on your Cumulative report score for a regulated analyte because you have notified us during the testing event that you are no longer performing this test in your laboratory.|
|Er||Er is short for exclusion requested. You received this on your Cumulative report score for a regulated analyte because you have notified us during the testing event that: a) you are temporarily unable to report this analyte and provided us with a reason: b) you are not performing patient testing during the PT event and are referring specimens out for testing and: c) you participated in the two prior events.|
|Wv||Wv is short for waived method. You received this on your Cumulative report score for a regulated analyte because you previously reported a non-waived method and now reported a waived method for this event.|
|ND||ND is short for Natural Disaster. You received this on your Cumulative report score for a regulated analyte because you notified us that you were unable to participate in this PT event due to a natural disaster event affecting your lab.|
What should I do if my analyzer will not produce a result?
Call the Technical Support at 800.234.5315 and determine if others are experiencing the same problem. A replacement specimen can be arranged if appropriate. Check our schedule for replacements. If you are reporting manually: Leave the result field blank and attach a note, to the red form, describing the problem. If you are reporting via the internet: Leave the result field blank and describe the problem in the comment box. You can also email us.
What if my results are less than or greater than my reportable values?
These instructions are always included in the General Instructions included with each shipment. For paper forms, users enter the lowest or highest reportable value on the original red form. Make a photocopy of the completed red form, circle the affected result, and write < or > symbols to the immediate left of the result field. If you feel clarification may be necessary, make any comments on the photocopy, and clip the copy to the original.”
Explain Microbiology Extent Testing
Determining the type (Extent) of microbiology testing can be a bit confusing. You must do it accurately or run the risk of a PT failure, in some cases with a correct answer. It is very important that you do not overstate your extent classification. In other words, do not use extent 4 unless you are in fact reporting patients at that level. You must use this table. It is the one created by CMS. If you have any questions please call the Technical Support Group at 800.234.5315 and request assistance. We will be happy to help you determine your extent category. You can also email us. Follow these General Guidelines:
- Do not use Extent 0 unless you would not perform testing on a specimen.
- If you do not select an extent classification it will default to Extent 5, in which case you must identify the genus and species of both aerobic and anaerobic organisms.
- Extent 3 is for presumptive testing and requires the identification of an organism’s genus. Be certain that is what you do when testing patient specimens.
- If you select Extent 4 you must be able to detect the presence of an anaerobic organism. You do not need to identify it, but you must know it is present.
- As a rule, the result codes for Extent 1, 2, and 3 will be graded the same.
What should I do if my instrument or method code is not listed?
Leave the instrument and/or method code blank on the red form. Attach the manufacturer’s information for the instrument and/or a package insert for the method. We will classify the test system and notify you of the correct code. If you are resulting on-line, leave the instrument and/or method code blank. In the comments section you can attach an electronic copy of the information or send a link to the manufacturer’s website. We will classify the test system and notify you of the correct code. You can call the Technical Support at 800.234.5315 or send an email us if you have additional questions.
What codes do I use for antibiotics not listed?
Recent CMS rules require us to score the selection of antimicrobials that are not listed as appropriate for the intended organism under the current CLSI (NCCLS) guides as an incorrect result. We therefore will only add new antimicrobials at the end of each year after the release of the new guidelines. Antimicrobials that are not added to the CLSI guidelines will not be added to our list. Please submit your request to add new antimicrobials on a copy of your Bacteriology Reporting form. If you are reporting online, simply type the request into the comments field. Your request will be kept on file and addressed at the end of the current calendar year.
Do I need to send my results to CMS?
If you are performing testing for medical uses you probably fall under the CLIA regulations and need to have your results submitted to CMS. If you provide us with a CLIA number, we will send your results to all appropriate state and federal agencies.
What should I do if I am not reporting results for this testing event?
If you are testing patients for an analyte at the time of the event you must report Proficiency Testing results. If you are not testing patients, leave the red form blank for the analyte involved and attach an explanation. If you are reporting on line, leave the result form blank for that analyte and submit an explanation in the comment box.
What do I do if my DAT samples are hemolyzed?
If cells are present, wash the cells with saline and test according to your protocol. If no cells are present contact AAB Technical Support for replacement samples if available.
What to do when I receive my QBC samples for Hematology?
Open kit immediately and check for hemolysis and breakage. Refrigerate samples immediately and analyze specimens within 24 hours after receipt. These specimens are time sensitive and replacements will not be available after seven days of the original shipping date.
How long can I delay testing for Cardiac Markers/Isoenzymes Plasma?
Refrigerate specimens immediately. Troponin I must be tested immediately on receipt of the package. If testing is delayed more than 6 hours, freeze the samples till the time of testing. CK-2 and myoglobin samples are stable up to 4 days at 2-8°c if kept tightly stoppered. If you anticipate any delays in testing, freeze samples immediately upon receipt.
How long can I delay testing for Fertility/Endocrinology specimens?
Testing should be performed within 48 hours of receipt of specimens. Refrigerate specimens immediately on receipt. If you anticipate any delays in testing, freeze samples immediately upon receipt.
My diluent is missing for Microbiology specimens. What should I do?
Do not delay testing for cultures. The samples swab may be used directly to inoculate primary culture plates or media. Alternatively, 0.5mls of any enriched media broth can be used for reconstitution. Saline can also be used for rapid test kits such as Uricult.
What should you do when a state official says that their file shows a score of “0” for a waived test yet you received a passing grade from AAB?
This occurs when the state requests that results be forwarded to them electronically in the CLIA “OSCAR” format. In this format, CMS requests that all results from waived tests be reported as a “0” with a specific code attached indicating the result was from a waived method. We are occasionally questioned on this and find that this is typically caused by one of the following. First, an auditor or other representative is only given a list of scores without the attached codes. To remedy this, scores should always be given with all result codes intact. Second, the codes are given but the auditor has not been informed as to their meaning and is unaware of the convention for reporting waived methods as a “0”. Finally, the state accepts results in OSCAR format simply as a convenience, and is not fully aware of the meaning of all the codes and fields. This can result in a local programmer inadvertently stripping the appropriate codes as results are added to the database. If there are any questions as to your actual performance then you should be able to show the state a copy of your results for the analyte and event in question. That should be sufficient to resolve any concerns. Please contact us at AAB Technical Support if you have any further questions.
How do I enter my results online?
Click here for illustrated instructions for logging in and entering results online.
How do I view my reports online?
Click here for illustrated instructions for logging in and viewing reports online.