Tulare Local Healthcare District will reopen its forensic laboratory Monday.
Mineral King Lab was closed on Oct. 28, 2017 by Healthcare Conglomerate Associates, the district’s former management partner.
While the district’s board voted in October to voluntarily suspend its acute care license — which covers the operation of the Tulare Regional Medical Center — the Mineral King Lab’s services are not covered under that license and can be reopened.
Efforts still continue to reopen the hospital and its clinics the hospital’s lab, separate from the Mineral King Lab, will not reopen Monday.
“I’ve been running all over the county to get customers back,” said Matt Chapman, operations manager of the lab which does forensic alcohol and drug testing for law enforcement.
Chapman said all law enforcement in Tulare County, including probation, utilized the Tulare lab prior to its closing. Today, those agencies have to send their samples to a lab in Clovis.
“We serve mostly law enforcement and other hospitals,” Chapman said, adding Sierra View Medical Center has already indicated it was coming back to Mineral King.
The lab is a full-service toxicology laboratory doing complete employment and industrial drug testing for pre-employment screening and on the job injuries. Its services include: Laboratory tests, collection of specimens, medical review officer services and record keeping.
The lab draws and then test samples and it’s a seven-day, 24-hour service.
Chapman said the lab will begin with six employees, only two less than it had when it was closed. He hopes to bring that staffing up to eight in the near future.
All of those being hired previously worked at the hospital.
Chapman stressed the lab is still licensed by the Drug Enforcement Agency. Dr. Gary Walter continues to be the medical director for the facility.
For more information, call 559-685-3456.