As of March 5, 2020, the number of deaths in the United States attributed to COVID-19 is 14 with 200 confirmed cases in 19 different states. COVID-19 has been mandated as a serious public threat health by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
According to an article released by Reuters on March 4, 2020, Vice President Mike Pence said the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has included Coronavirus testing as an essential health benefit for health plans in a bid to increase Americans’ access to tests. “We want every American to have access to testing,” Pence said.
The CDC recommends “Clinicians should use their judgment to determine if a patient has signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and whether the patient should be tested,” on its website while also reminding clinicians they are, “strongly encouraged to test for other causes of respiratory illness, including infections such as influenza.”
Gravity Diagnostics, a private diagnostics laboratory located in Northern Kentucky, stepped up to assist in ensuring all Americans have access to testing when ordered by a licensed clinician. Gravity Diagnostics began this process on February 28, 2020, when the FDA released its emergency use guidance to allow high-complexity testing for CLIA certified laboratories in the molecular virology specialty.
Gravity Diagnostics is a CLIA certified laboratory licensed in all 50 states that offers an expansive respiratory pathogen testing menu. The laboratory has implemented the CDC’s COVID-19 protocol for their laboratory processes and is diligently working on completing the analytical validation necessary to assist as needed in the public health response for all Americans. The addition of the COVID-19 test will not only help confirm whether a patient has COVID-19 or not, in conjunction with the other viral and bacterial testing already available, but Gravity Diagnostics can also assist in identifying the cause of the infection if COVID-19 is ruled out, including influenza.
“It’s ingrained in us at Gravity Diagnostics to serve and be dedicated to public health and we are always looking for ways to utilize our resources and expertise to support the community at large,” said James P. Canner, Ph.D., Vice President of Regulatory, Clinical, and Research Programs at Gravity Diagnostics. “We are optimistic for patient testing to be offered by mid-March.”
A common question healthcare providers have at this time is around the cost of the test for the patient. According to a recent Business Insider article, a number of insurers have begun to cover the cost of the novel coronavirus test, waiving co-pays, co-insurance and other payments associated with getting tested. Patients are encouraged to check with their insurance provider to determine your coverage and out of pocket costs.
About Gravity Diagnostics
Gravity Diagnostics is a full-service state-of-the-art CLIA laboratory licensed in all 50 states providing innovative laboratory services. We are an advocate for physicians, patients, and our communities, supporting them with unsurpassed integrity, regulatory compliance, and clinical expertise. Our pledge to deliver the highest professional operating standards in the laboratory service industry coupled with ongoing research and support exemplifies our commitment to being provider engaged, patient-focused, and make the communities we serve a healthier place to live.