COLA Accreditation # 003722
Some laboratory services are by appointment only and all are strictly confidential.
Macon County Public Health
These services can be ordered by one of our Public Health Nurses. Our nursing staff has written standing orders signed by our Medical Director that must be followed when ordering laboratory tests. The nurse will assess patients seeking to have any of this lab work then will determine if the lab work is justified.
Testing not performed within the local laboratory will be sent to a reference lab.
Bacterial Analysis of Drinking Water
Private and Public water samples are accepted for testing:
NO WATER SAMPLES WILL BE ACCEPTED ON FRIDAY OR THE DAY BEFORE A GOVERNMENT HOLIDAY.
Bacterial analysis determines the presence or absence of coliform bacteria and E.coli (Escherichia coli) bacteria and takes a minimum of 24 hours to a maximum of 48 hours from the time it is set up. Our laboratory offers two methods for water testing:
Colisure: Tests for (presence/absence) of coliforms and E.coli with definitive results at 24 hours.
Quanti-Tray: Provides rapid and accurate counts of coliforms and E.coli based on the Standard Methods Most Probable Number (MPN) model. Quanti-tray detects down to one organism per 100 ml. and results are available in 24 to 48hours.
** Water sample forms and sample bottles must be obtained from the Environmental Section at the Macon County Public Health Center. All water samples need to be brought in as soon as possible after collection (within an hour).
Drug Free Work Place Testing Services
The Macon County Public Health Center Laboratory is staffed with three (3) federally certified BAT's (Breath Alcohol Technicians) who are also certified Specimen Collectors for urine drug screens.
Breath Alcohol Testing:
DOT and non-DOT Breath alcohol testing is performed for employment purposes only. Employers must set up an account with the lab. Appointments are required.
Urine Drug Screen Collection:
DOT and non-DOT urine collections are performed for area employers. Employers must set up an account with the lab. Appointments are required.
All testing and collections are performed according to 49 CFR Part 40 regulations.
All appointments must be made by the employer and require positive identification of the employee/donor, preferably a picture id, MRO (Medical Review Officer) services are also provided.
For information on setting up an account and cost of testing or for collection only call the lab at 828-349-2081.
For more information on DOT regulation please go to http://www.dot.gov/ost/dapc/
Paternity / DNA Collections
A Paternity test or DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) test is performed to determine the biological relationship between two people, usually a child and “alleged” father. Each persons’ DNA pattern is unique and specific to that individual (except for identical twins). Children inherit 50% of their DNA typing from their biological mother and 50% from their biological father.
DNA is located everywhere throughout the body in the exact same form; therefore, a DNA sample can be collected a variety of ways but the most common is by buccal swab (a swab of the lining of the jaw) or by venipuncture (blood drawn from the arm). The individual testing lab decides the way a specimen is collected but the majority of the time it is collected by buccal swab.
From the sample, the independent testing lab will extract the child’s genetic material and compare it with the genetic material from the biological mother and biological father, thus, determining the paternity of the child.
The actual testing is not done at the health department, we are a collection facility only. An independent lab such as LabCorp of America, GeneScreen, GenuServe or DNA Diagnostics schedules the appointment for paternity collection. For child support purposes the appointment would be scheduled through Child Support Enforcement of Macon County.
For more information on Paternity/ DNA testing go to or call:
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: My physician wants me to have lab work. Can I come to the Health Department and have that lab work done?
Answer: YES. The laboratory will gladly accept written orders from your physician providing all necessary information is written on your prescription.
Question: What does fasting mean?
Answer: By definition, fasting means abstaining from all food and drinking only water. For laboratory test(s), a 12-hour fast becomes important when food and drinks may affect performing certain lab test(s).
Question: How do I get more information on paternity testing?
Answer: The laboratory does provide collections for paternity testing through various independent laboratories for a fee.
Question: I need a chicken pox titer for this health class I have enrolled in at school. Can I have that done at the health department?
Answer: YES. The health department laboratory will provide a chicken pox titer and other titers needed for school health programs for a fee.
Question: My doctor has written an order for me to have some lab tests done, how much are they?
Answer: Because there are literally thousands of laboratory tests available to assist your physician in diagnosis and management of your health, the laboratory asks that you call them directly for specific cost information.
Question: I live out of state and need lab work once a month. Can I come there and have my lab work done?
Answer: YES. The laboratory provides services for physicians throughout the US. We ask that all pertinent information be affixed to each written order that your physician writes, including your physicians name, exact mailing address, telephone number, fax number, personal ID number (UPIN#), and a diagnosis code that has been assigned to you the patient for third party billing, ie. insurance and Medicare.
Question: When my lab work is done, do you forward the results to my doctor?
Answer: YES. All lab work that has been ordered by your physician is sent either by mail or faxed to that office.
Question: I live and work in Highlands, is there another alternative to coming to Franklin to have lab work done?
Answer: YES. The Macon County Public Health Lab realizes the inconvenience of those persons living in Highlands that otherwise would request service from the laboratory. Therefore, we hold one (1) clinic per month. We do ask however that you call and schedule that appointment due to limited services and personnel that travel to that facility.
Question: How do I have my child tested for drugs?
Answer: The laboratory will provide urine drug testing for those employers wanting to drug test their employees. Urine drug testing for any other purpose requires a written order from a physician.
Question: Medicaid requires me to have proof of pregnancy, how do I get that?
Answer: Once Medicaid has informed you that you must have proof of pregnancy to file for Medicaid services, you will need to have a documented pregnancy test that can be done here at our laboratory.
Question: Is all the lab testing performed there at the Health Department?
Answer: NO. Although some of the laboratory testing is performed on site, the laboratory uses other reference laboratories to perform some testing. The reference laboratories that we use are, LabCorp located in Burlington, NC, the North Carolina State Laboratory located in Raleigh, NC, Bowman Gray University Medical Center located in Winston Salem, NC, Wake Forest, and Angel Medical Center.
Question: I’m getting married, does North Carolina require any blood work to issue a marriage license?
Answer: NO. Currently the state of North Carolina does not require any laboratory work prior to being married. However, some of the surrounding states do require blood work in order to issue a marriage license. You will need to contact the Registrar of Deeds in the county in which you are getting married to find out what is required.
Question: Can you bill Medicare for the lab work I am having done at the Health Department?
Answer: YES. The laboratory can file Medicare for the lab services you are receiving here. For laboratory work provided by our reference laboratories, they must file Medicare. The law requires us to notify you if Medicare based on the diagnosis given to us by your physician might not pay for a test. In this case you will be asked to sign an ABN, Advanced Beneficiary Notice, acknowledging that you will be responsible for payment should Medicare not pay.
Question: My employer requires me to have a urine drug screen, can I have it done at the Health Department?
Answer: YES. The laboratory can provide urine drug testing only for those employers that set up an account.
Question: I need my cholesterol checked. Can I get it there without an order from my doctor?
Answer: The laboratory follows guidelines set forth by our Medical Director and if you fall under those guidelines you could qualify for cholesterol testing that would not require your health care provider to write an order.
Question: My well water tastes bad, can I have my water tested there?
Answer: YES. The laboratory does provide both a qualitative and semiquantitative method for the detection of coliform bacteria within your water system. For additional information, please contact the Environment Health section at 828-349-2490.
Question: I take insulin for my diabetes, how and where do I dispose of my needles?
Answer: You must place your needles in a puncture proof container and you may drop them off at the Macon County landfill. When you drop them off, you must give the container directly to the attendant. Contact the Macon County Landfill fort further information.
A public resource on clinical lab testing is available from the lab professionals who do the testing.