(a) Types of services offered by laboratories. In mycobacteriology, there are five types of laboratories for proficiency testing purposes:
(1) Those that interpret acid-fast stains and refer specimen to another laboratory appropriately certified in the subspecialty of mycobacteriology;
(2) Those that interpret acid-fast stains, perform primary inoculation, and refer cultures to another laboratory appropriately certified in the subspecialty of mycobacteriology for identification;
(3) Those that interpret acid-fast stains, isolate and perform identification and/or antimycobacterial susceptibility of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, but refer other mycobacteria species to another laboratory appropriately certified in the subspecialty of mycobacteriology for identification and/or susceptibility tests;
(4) Those that interpret acid-fast stains, isolate and identify all mycobacteria to the extent required for correct clinical diagnosis, but refer antimycobacterial susceptibility tests to another laboratory appropriately certified in the subspecialty of mycobacteriology; and
(5) Those that interpret acid-fast stains, isolate and identify all mycobacteria to the extent required for correct clinical diagnosis, and perform antimycobacterial susceptibility tests on the organisms isolated.
(b) Program content and frequency of challenge. To be approved for proficiency testing for mycobacteriology, the annual program must provide a minimum of five samples per testing event. There must be at least two testing events per year. The samples may be provided through mailed shipments or, at HHS' option, provided to HHS or its designee for on-site testing events. For types of laboratories specified in paragraphs (a)(1) and (a) (3) through (5) of this section, an annual program must include samples that contain species that are representative of the 5 major groups (complexes) of mycobacteria encountered in human specimens. The specific mycobacteria included in the samples may vary from year to year.
(1) An approved program must furnish HHS and its agents with a description of samples that it plans to include in its annual program no later than six months before each calendar year. At least 50 percent of the samples must be mixtures of the principal mycobacteria and appropriate normal flora. The program must include mycobacteria commonly occurring in patient specimens and other important emerging mycobacteria (as determined by HHS). The program determines the reportable isolates and correct responses for antimycobacterial susceptibility for any designated isolate.
(2) An approved program may vary over time. For example, the types of mycobacteria that might be included in an approved program over time are -
(3) For antimycobacterial susceptibility testing, the program must provide at least one sample per testing event that includes mycobacterium tuberculosis that has a predetermined pattern of sensitivity or resistance to the common antimycobacterial agents.
(4) For laboratories specified in paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2), the program must provide at least five samples per testing event that includes challenges that are acid-fast and challenges which do not contain acid-fast organisms.
(1) The program determines the reportable mycobacteria to be detected by acid-fast stain, for isolation and identification, and for antimycobacterial susceptibility. To determine the accuracy of a laboratory's response, the program must compare the laboratory's response for each sample with the response that reflects agreement of either 80 percent of ten or more referee laboratories or 80 percent or more of all participating laboratories.
(2) To evaluate a laboratory's response for a particular sample, the program must determine a laboratory's type of service in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section. A laboratory must interpret acid-fast stains and isolate and identify the organisms to the same extent it performs these procedures on patient specimens. A laboratory's performance will be evaluated on the basis of the average of its scores as determined in paragraph (c)(6) of this section.
(3) Since laboratories may incorrectly report the presence of organisms in addition to the correctly identified principal organism(s), the grading system must provide a means of deducting credit for additional erroneous organisms reported. Therefore, the total number of correct responses submitted by the laboratory divided by the number of organisms present plus the number of incorrect organisms reported by the laboratory must be multiplied by 100 to establish a score for each sample in each testing event. For example, if a sample contained one principal organism and the laboratory reported it correctly but reported the presence of an additional organism, which was not present, the sample grade would be
1 / (1 + 1) × 100 = 50 percent
(4) For antimycobacterial susceptibility testing, a laboratory must indicate which drugs are routinely included in its test panel when testing patient samples. A laboratory's performance will be evaluated for only those antibiotics for which susceptibility testing is routinely performed on patient specimens. A correct response for each antibiotic will be determined as described in § 493.913(c)(1). Grading is based on the number of correct susceptibility responses reported by the laboratory divided by the actual number of correct susceptibility responses as determined by the program, multiplied by 100. For example, if a laboratory offers susceptibility testing using three antimycobacterial agents and the laboratory reports correct response for two of the three antimycobacterial agents, the laboratory's grade would be2/3 × 100 = 67 percent.
(5) The performance criterion for qualitative tests is the presence or absence of acid-fast organisms. The score for acid-fast organism detection is the number of correct responses divided by the number of samples to be tested, multiplied by 100.