Is your facility CLIA certified? Beginning this week, COVID-19 point of care (POC) testing instruments and supplies will start to be provided to skilled nursing facilities, prioritizing “hot spots” first. Only facilities with a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) Certificate of Waiver will receive a testing machine and be able to perform and bill for these tests. If you’re not sure about your CLIA waiver status, you can perform an advanced search for your facility here.
If your facility does not have a certificate, you should begin the application process immediately to avoid any delays. CMS says that at this time, applications are processed within a few days. Here’s the link CMS provided for how to apply.
There has been some concern voiced by individual states that the use of antigen tests in skilled nursing facilities is not currently allowed or recommended. According to Admiral Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, “There will not be another solution, by technology, that is going to be available,” and he asserts that the technology is the best POC system that nursing homes can expect during the COVID-19 pandemic.