(a) Purpose. The enforcement mechanisms set forth in this subpart have the following purposes:
(1) To protect all individuals served by laboratories against substandard testing of specimens.
(2) To safeguard the general public against health and safety hazards that might result from laboratory activities.
(3) To motivate laboratories to comply with CLIA requirements so that they can provide accurate and reliable test results.
(b) Basis for decision to impose sanctions.
(1) CMS's decision to impose sanctions is based on one or more of the following:
(i) Deficiencies found by CMS or its agents in the conduct of inspections to certify or validate compliance with Federal requirements, or through review of materials submitted by the laboratory (e.g., personnel qualifications).
(ii) Unsuccessful participation in proficiency testing.
(c) Imposition of alternative sanctions.
(1) CMS may impose alternative sanctions in lieu of, or in addition to principal sanctions. (Except for a condition level deficiency under §§ 493.41 or 493.1100(a), CMS does not impose alternative sanctions on laboratories that have certificates of waiver because those laboratories are not routinely inspected for compliance with condition-level requirements.)
(2) CMS may impose alternative sanctions other than a civil money penalty after the laboratory has had an opportunity to respond, but before the hearing specified in § 493.1844.
(d) Choice of sanction: Factors considered. CMS bases its choice of sanction or sanctions on consideration of one or more factors that include, but are not limited to, the following, as assessed by the State or by CMS, or its agents:
(1) Whether the deficiencies pose immediate jeopardy.
(2) The nature, incidence, severity, and duration of the deficiencies or noncompliance.
(3) Whether the same condition level deficiencies have been identified repeatedly.
(4) The accuracy and extent of laboratory records (e.g., of remedial action) in regard to the noncompliance, and their availability to the State, to other CMS agents, and to CMS.
(5) The relationship of one deficiency or group of deficiencies to other deficiencies.
(6) The overall compliance history of the laboratory including but not limited to any period of noncompliance that occurred between certifications of compliance.
(7) The corrective and long-term compliance outcomes that CMS hopes to achieve through application of the sanction.
(8) Whether the laboratory has made any progress toward improvement following a reasonable opportunity to correct deficiencies.
(9) Any recommendation by the State agency as to which sanction would be appropriate.
(e) Number of alternative sanctions. CMS may impose a separate sanction for each condition level deficiency or a single sanction for all condition level deficiencies that are interrelated and subject to correction by a single course of action.
(f) Appeal rights. The appeal rights of laboratories dissatisfied with the imposition of a sanction are set forth in § 493.1844.