South Texas Health System Edinburg Holds Grand Opening Ceremony for Newly Expanded Laboratory Services Department

Wednesday, June 14, 2023
Ribbon cutting ceremony at the STHS Edinburg Laboratory Services Expansion Grand Opening

With 14 billion laboratory tests ordered annually in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and facilities throughout the nation reporting an increase in lab testing requests, South Texas Health System Edinburg is now better equipped to meet the growing need locally with the opening of its newly expanded laboratory services department.

Now four times its previous size and featuring new technology aimed at improving turnaround, Valley residents requiring inpatient and outpatient testing and their physicians can count on STHS Edinburg’s Laboratory Services Department to provide results in faster time.

To celebrate the new and improved department and spread the word about the facility’s ability to better to serve the people of the Rio Grande Valley, STHS Edinburg leaders and staff members were joined by members of the community for the official grand opening of the expanded laboratory on Wednesday, June 14.  During the event, staff members highlighted the enhanced services of the department, including the new technology brought in to keep testing on site, as a way of decreasing the overall turnaround time for testing.

“This expansion is an investment in the health and welfare of our community,” said Rose Castellanos, System Director of Laboratory Operations, STHS. “By upgrading our laboratory, we will have the capacity to serve a larger number of patients, reduce wait times for diagnostic tests and enable faster and more accurate diagnosis. This will contribute to a more efficient healthcare system where patients can receive timely treatment and begin their journey toward recovery sooner.”

“Furthermore, an expanded laboratory means access to a wider range of diagnostic tests and advanced technologies. This leads to improved medical care and more comprehensive patient management,” Castellanos added. “We will be able to conduct specialized tests that were previously outsourced, allowing us to provide a more holistic approach to healthcare within our own facility.”

Among the many enhancements, the new and improved laboratory is now equipped with an Echo Lumena, a fully automated analyzer in the lab’s blood bank department that provides the fastest type of screening tests on the market, including high sensitivity for clinically significant antibodies.

A Cephaid GeneXpert System in the lab’s microbiology department is also a new Man looks at computer in laboratoryaddition. The machine performs CLIA-waived molecular, rapid tests for COVID-19, the flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and other respiratory diseases. It will also test for Clostridioides difficile infection (C. diff) and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

Additionally, the expanded lab will also include the ADVIA Centaur XPT Immunoassay System. Designed with one of the most advanced systems on the market, the system will enable the Edinburg lab to conduct in-house testing of samples that previously would have been sent to South Texas Health System McAllen for testing, improving turnaround time.

The tests that will now be moved in-house include, but are not limited to:

  • Tracrolimus
  • Intact PTH
  • CEA
  • FSH
  • Progesterone
  • Testosterone
  • CA125
  • Enhanced Estradiol
  • Hepatitis testing
  • HIV testing

On top of adding new equipment, the facility also upgraded the area dedicated to outpatient laboratory draws, by increasing its size and providing more privacy to patients.

The upgraded laboratory department is part of a multi-phase project that included the new five-story, $100 million patient tower that opened in September 2022.

“With all the new beds, the new ER, the new radiology services and everything that we’re offering with the new tower, we also need to make sure that we take care of our staff on the inside,” said Lance Ames, CEO, STHS Edinburg. “Our volume is growing; we’re increasing in a lot of areas, but we have to make sure that the infrastructure for the hospital can keep up with all of that growth.”

“As we grow, we want to make sure that we have a large enough space to take care of the growing services here at STHS Edinburg and we’re grateful for the investment in our infrastructure,” Ames added.

South Texas Health System Edinburg, named a 2023 Best Regional Hospital by U.S. News & World Report, continually strives to upgrade to the latest in quality healthcare technology available on the market to help provide quality, compassionate care beyond the hospital room and enhance the overall health and well-being of its patients and the community.