COVID-19 Point-of-Care Testing Supplies to Be Distributed to Nursing Homes in the Coming Weeks

Distribution Information

  • Shipping of testing supplies was initiated the week of July 20th and will continue over the following 14 weeks. 
  • Testing distribution is being prioritized based on epidemiological hotspot data. 
  • Facilities must have a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) Certificate of Waiver in order to receive the testing equipment.
  • CMS reports they will expedite review of CLIA waivers for COVID-19 testing.
  • For more information on how to obtain a CLIA waiver, CLICK HERE.
  • To be eligible, in addition to having a current CLIA Certificate of Waiver, the nursing home must meet certain epidemiological criteria. 
  • For the list of nursing homes receiving instruments and tests in the first wave, CLICK HERE.

Testing Information

  • Each facility will receive at least one diagnostic test instrument (from manufacturers QUIDEL or BD) and approximately 400 tests to get started (these numbers will be adjusted for the size of the facility).
  • Additional antigen tests can be ordered at $25/test through a concierge service from the respective manufacturer.
  • The test instruments have the capacity to perform 15-20 antigen tests within an hour with near immediate results.
  • CMS indicated the Medicare program does not reimburse for surveillance testing, but if a patient tests positive, the test may be billed as diagnostic.
  • Facilities were encouraged to work with other facilities or to potentially share equipment until supply needs for each facility can be met.
  • CMS reported that they are aware of the likelihood of false negatives with rapid testing; however, the quick result can prove beneficial to the facility for infection control compared to the current lag time of results from the lab.
  • Additionally, on-site rapid testing may prove beneficial not only due to results obtained more quickly, but it is also more cost effective (the cost of on-site tests is $25 as opposed to the $100-$150 per test cost for current laboratory tests).

For CMS’ FAQ document regarding COVID-19 testing platforms and tests, CLICK HERE.

To access the press release from HHS regarding testing, CLICK HERE.

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