DOH Releases Guidance SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Tests, As Some CHHAs, Hospices Receive Rapid Test

Situation Report | October 26, 2020

The state Department of Health (DOH) has issued “Interim Recommendations for Use of SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Tests” that includes guidance, an algorithm, and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

The National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) has informed us that certain Certified Home Health Agencies (CHHAs) and hospices in New York will soon be receiving a shipment from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with the Abbott BinaxNOW COVID19 Ag Card, a rapid antigen test. HHS has been similarly distributing antigen tests to nursing homes.

Notably, the DOH guidance confirms that nursing homes may use these HHS-furnished testing supplies in order to meet state requirements for testing their staff and residents. As extensively reported, this nursing home requirement extends to home care and hospice providers, as well, who may be delivering services in nursing homes and adult care/assisted living facilities. Therefore, if nursing homes are permitted to use the HHS tests in fulfilling state requirements, it appears that CHHAs may also do so, if they: are likewise receiving HHS test supplies as noted above; meet certain requirements outlined in the DOH guidance; and if they have staff who need to be tested before providing services in nursing homes and adult care facilities.

CHHAs and hospices should review the FAQs for information on: whether they need separate DOH approval to perform the test; their reporting responsibilities to DOH via the Electronic Clinical Laboratory Reporting System; whether the rapid test needs to be followed up with a laboratory-based RT-PCR non-rapid COVID-19 test; and more.