The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Social Health and Services (DSHS) recognize that nursing home facilities have been and continue to be severely impacted by the COVID-19 epidemic. The congregate nature of these facilities comprised of patients at the highest risk of severe illness and death, have inherent risks which require aggressive efforts to limit COVID-19 exposure.
Based on earlier guidance from DOH and DSHS, many of these facilities have already implemented numerous COVID-19 prevention and control measures to help protect their residents. While visitations to patients has been restricted, there is still a need for staff members, contractors, volunteers, and other personnel to enter and leave the building regularly. This increases the chance of patient exposure, especially from asymptomatic carriers who would not be identified through symptom-based screening methods.
New Orders for Mandatory Testing
To help determine the full scope and magnitude of infection within these facilities, and to advise future prevention and control efforts, John Wiesman, the Washington State Secretary of Health has issued new orders (20-02) regarding staff and patient testing of COVID-19.
- Facilities that have not completed universal testing for COVID-19 since April 1, 2020, must offer and administer testing to all staff and residents by June 12, 2020.
- Facilities must require all staff to be tested for COVID-19, with the exception of those who can provide medical justification from a licensed health care provider for declining the test.
- Facilities must comply with all applicable laws when offering tests to, requiring tests of, and administering tests to residents and staff. In accordance with 42 CFR 483.10(c), WAC 388-97-0260, and other resident rights statues, residents (or their representatives) have a right to be informed of, and consent to or refuse any proposed medical treatment, including COVID-19 testing.
To make sure that all facilities can comply with the COVID-19 orders, the State of Washington has contracted with Molecular Testing Labs (Molecular) and the University of Washington Department of Virology (UW Virology) to provide this testing. Facilities are not required to cover the cost of this testing for residents and staff.
- The State of Washington will provide COVID-19 testing kits and personal protective equipment (PPE) to all facilities at no cost.
- Molecular and UW Virology will bill eligible patient and staff testing to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services or the Washington State Health Care Authority.
- The State of Washington will reimburse facilities the cost of testing for patients and staff who are not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid, so long as testing was performed at Molecular or UW Virology.
Registering with Molecular
Molecular has created an expedited process for getting tests out to facilities quickly. The registration process is fast and simple.
- Fill out the online registration form here.
- After completing and submitting the form, the registered provider(s) listed will receive a provider acknowledgment form via “Pandadoc” for electronic signature.
- Once the acknowledgment form is signed, Molecular will send out the requested number of collection kits and supplies, along with specimen collection instructions.
After registration is complete, a member of the Molecular Client Relations team will reach out to the authorized clinic contact to provide training and access to Molecular’s online Provider Portal. The Provider Portal is a versatile tool used to order patient testing, track sample status, and download patient results.
Molecular is excited for the opportunity to partner with the Department of Health to offer COVID-19 testing to our front-line heroes and our most vulnerable populations. Molecular has also contracted with the state department of health to provide at-home STI screenings for patients whose access to healthcare and required testing has been severely restricted by the stay-at-home orders and other COVID-19 prevention efforts.
About Molecular: Our mission is to provide accessible and innovative laboratory solutions through collaborative partnerships with payors, private healthcare institutions, universities, and public health organizations. Our lab has revolutionized access to convenient and affordable testing and has designed a proprietary information system capable of monitoring patient specimens for adherence to medical testing policies. In addition to traditional labs, we have pioneered unique distribution and specimen collection methods that open access to medical testing where geographic, financial, and stigma barriers once created gaps in care. These unique methodologies advocate for improved compliance in required annual testing and access to follow-up care. We take pride in setting ourselves apart on the principles of innovation, integrity, and partnership