The story of CPL begins on the first of May, 1948. On that day the first pathologist to practice in Austin, Texas, Charles F. Pelphrey, M.D., opened his practice in a 400 square foot apartment not far from the University of Texas campus. At the time, there was no independent laboratory in Austin; even the two local hospitals at the time did not have laboratories. Prior to May 1, 1948, if a physician in Austin needed a laboratory test on his patient, he had to do it himself. That is, until Dr. Pelphrey opened his practice. Offering tests like thymol turbidity, BMR , Wasserman test and whole blood glucose, Dr. Pelphrey set the tone for what was to become the largest pathologist owned laboratory in the United States. To this day, CPL follows the pioneering philosophy of Dr. Pelphrey: Serve the medical community with the highest quality laboratory services catering to the individual needs of independent practicing physicians.
As medicine progressed over the ensuing decades, Dr. Pelphrey’s practice grew to the point that, by the time of his retirement in 1981, CPL had become a six-man practice serving central Texas. But the decade of the 1980’s brought much change to American medicine, with the advent of managed health care and the corporatization of laboratory services. CPL faced the same pressures that most pathology practices faced at the time, but instead of selling out to the corporate-run laboratories, CPL re-organized and separated the laboratory from the pathology practice in 1990. That set the stage for CPL’s expansion beyond the Austin metropolitan area and the operating philosophy that has served us well since then.
Through a combination of our historical approach to laboratory medicine, partnering with local pathologists in the communities we serve, and integrating strategic acquisitions of like-minded laboratories, CPL grew steadily through the 1990’s, to serve most of the population centers in the state of Texas by the end of the decade.
In 2002, CPL began offering laboratory services to the physicians of Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas. Our reputation continued to grow as a high quality medical laboratory, run by pathologists offering highly personalized service dedicated to the needs of individual physicians, in contrast to the one-size-fits-all approach of the nationwide laboratories.
We were presented with a singular opportunity in 2005 to join a liked-minded organization dedicated to the same goals and principles as CPL. Sonic Healthcare, Ltd, of Sydney, Australia, proposed a merger, and CPL is now part of the Sonic Healthcare federation of laboratories. Our shared values and operating philosophies of medical leadership, personalized service to physicians, and a commitment to the highest quality laboratory testing, make this alliance a natural and seamless fit.