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Microbiology Testing Availability
Specimen reception, inoculation and gram stain results are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.Identification and Susceptibility Testing
Identification and susceptibility testing are only performed on potential pathogens. Usual flora or organisms commonly associated with contamination are not suitable for complete identification or susceptibilities. There are additional charges associated with identification and susceptibility testing. These additional charges vary with the type of organism tested and the methodologies required for testing.

Stains, smears and wet preparations are examined within 24 hours of receipt unless ordered STAT. STAT results are available within 1 hour after receipt in the Microbiology Department.

Screening Policies

Expectorated sputa and wounds are screened for acceptability (absence of superficial contamination). Specimens containing excessive squamous epithelial cells may be rejected for culture or not worked up completely.

Specimen Transport and Storage

Specimen transport systems have been developed to a high level of sophistication, enabling many types of specimens to be stabilized for considerable periods of time without compromising recovery of organisms. This has made collection and transport more convenient for off-site clients. Please remember that delays in transportation cause delays in test resulting, so although the specimens may be stable for extended periods of time, rapid transport to the laboratory is still preferred for optimal patient care.Inpatient Specimens
All inpatient specimens must be received by the laboratory within 1-2 hours of collection.

Outpatient Specimens
Outpatient specimens in appropriate transport media must be received by the laboratory within 1-8 hours of collection. These specimens must be stored and transported according to the guidelines on the Specimen Collection web page and in the on-line Lab Testing Directory. Unstable specimens that are not in transport media must be delivered within the time frames specified for each test.

Rural Patient Specimens

Specimens from outside of the Anchorage area that are packaged in appropriate transport media must be received by the laboratory within 24-72 hours of collection.