(a) Types of services offered by laboratories. In mycology, there are four types of laboratories for proficiency testing purposes that may perform different levels of service for yeasts, dimorphic fungi, dermatophytes, and aerobic actinomycetes:
(1) Those that isolate and identify only yeasts and/or dermatophytes to the genus level;
(2) Those that isolate and identify yeasts and/or dermatophytes to the species level;
(3) Those that isolate and perform identification of all organisms to the genus level; and
(4) Those that isolate and perform identification of all organisms to the species level.
(b) Program content and frequency of challenge. To be approved for proficiency testing for mycology, the annual program must provide a minimum of five samples per testing event. There must be at least three testing events at approximately equal intervals per year. The samples may be provided through mailed shipments or, at HHS' option, may be provided to HHS or its designee for on-site testing. An annual program must include samples that contain organisms that are representative of five major groups of fungi: Yeast or yeast-like fungi; dimorphic fungi; dematiaceous fungi; dermatophytes; and saprophytes, including opportunistic fungi. The specific fungi included in the samples may vary from year to year.
(1) An approved program must, before each calendar year, furnish HHS 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 organism and appropriate normal background flora. Other important emerging pathogens (as determined by HHS) and organisms commonly occurring in patient specimens must be included periodically in the program.
(2) An approved program may vary over time. As an example, the types of organisms that might be included in an approved program over time are -
Candida (other species)
1 Note: Provided as a nonviable sample.
(1) The program determines the reportable organisms. 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 isolate and identify the organisms to the same extent it performs these procedures on patient specimens.
(3) Since laboratories may incorrectly report the presence of organisms in addition to the correctly identified principal organism(s), the grading system must deduct 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 shipment or 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)x100 = 50 percent.
(4) The score for the antigen tests is the number of correct responses divided by the number of samples to be tested for the antigen, multiplied by 100.
(5) The score for a testing event is the average of the sample scores as determined under paragraph (c)(3) or (c)(4), or both, of this section.