CHN and COVID-19 Testing
Since we first began addressing Novel Coronavirus 19, CHN has closely followed CDC guidelines and recommendations. In the beginning, constraints dictated who could receive the test. The original testing protocols focused on people with symptoms and other risk factors, such as travel to China or other countries where the virus was active. Once the virus began spreading through communities, the testing evolved to include symptomatic people without other risk factors.
During this transition, the flu was still active, and we were entering allergy season, so a more in-depth medical screening was required. Why did we have to be so restrictive on who would receive a test? For one, there was a lack of testing materials available, and we would soon learn that getting personal protective equipment for our staff would become a significant challenge.
Over the past couple of months, access to personal protective equipment has improved, and testing materials are more readily available, but widespread testing is still not feasible for us. We do not yet have access to that level of personal protective equipment necessary for us to open up to large-scale testing, and we continue to follow the CDC guidelines for testing. In addition to testing symptomatic people, the guidelines have expanded to asymptomatic groups, such as first responders, medical personnel, people over the age of 65, and people with particular chronic health conditions.
While identifying who needs to test, remains a challenge, the question of how to test has become a national concern. CHN continues to follow CDC guidelines and is providing viral testing, which is collected by swabbing the nasal passage. The sample is collected and sent to the reference lab for analysis. As the pandemic has progressed, the turnaround time for us to receive the results back has moved from two days to five days, primarily due to the growing number of tests performed in Texas.
CHN is expanding our test sites. We offer drive-up testing at four of our facilities, drive-thru testing in Angleton, Texas, and we will be expanding drive-thru testing to West Columbia. We expect to add additional sites in the weeks to come. When new technologies become FDA approved, affordable, and recommended, we hope to offer antibody testing and rapid results.
CHN continues to provide the test at no cost to the patient. There is no copay, deductible, or charge to the patient for the test, and in most cases, the patient must have a virtual visit with one of our providers, again at no cost. We charge the insurance for people who are insured, and we bill HHS for uninsured people.