Nursing Home Point-of-Care Tests – What to Know

The Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) announced on July 14, 2020 a new initiative that would provide more testing availability to nursing homes. In a press release, “Trump Administration Announces Initiative for More and Faster COVID-19 Testing in Nursing Homes,” HHS announced the large-scale procurement of FDA-authorized rapid tests to be distributed to nursing homes in COVID-19 hotspots across the country. Now, the list of which facilities will receive the instruments and tests is available, along with an FAQ.

The Frequently Asked Questions document for COVID-19 Testing at SNFs/Nursing Homes includes details on the methodology for who is receiving the tests, the methodology used for determining who receives the tests and other pertinent details. Highlights include:

  • To be eligible to receive the tests, a nursing home must have a current CLIA Certificate of Waiver as well as meet epidemiological criteria. The full prioritization methodology can be viewed in the answer to FAQ #6.
  • Distribution of testing and instruments is prioritized using the CDC epidemiological hotspot data and for facilities who COVID-19 reporting data indicate that they may be at an elevated risk for COVID-19 transmission. There are >3900 facilities that have been prioritized for testing. After this, there will be a phased distribution of antigen testing supplies to nursing homes that have the CLIA waiver and based on current epidemiological data.
  • Shipping for facilities receiving the instruments and tests began the week of July 20, 2020 and is expected to occur over 14 weeks for all nursing homes. Facilities that are in hotspots will be prioritized and should receive their tests within 3 weeks.
  • Nursing homes are required to report the results of any of these tests to appropriate agencies.
  • The estimated volume of tests that will be received is determined using data reported by facilities – average weekly staffing and average resident census.
  • After these tests are distributed, facilities will be responsible for obtaining their own tests going forward.

View the full FAQ document on the COVID-19 Nursing Home Data webpage. The listing of facilities receiving the testing is also located on the same webpage and can be viewed here.

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