HCA Recommends In-Home Option as State Health Commissioner Seeks County Plans on COVID-19 Testing

Situation Report | August 24, 2020

Last Wednesday, State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker wrote all county health departments asking for their plans on testing options for COVID-19 and Influenza. The request is part of a comprehensive advance plan for prevention and mitigation of fall outbreaks.

HCA President Al Cardillo reached out to the Commissioner suggesting the Department and the counties consider supporting their home care and hospice providers as potential partners in this effort. Cardillo noted the benefit to patients, workers and the public health infrastructure of collaborating with and supporting home care and hospice agencies for in-home specimen collections versus in hospitals or drive-bys.

Cardillo updated the Commissioner on HCA’s work in this area, specifically our statewide training for home care and hospice clinicians to perform in-home specimen collections.

The HCA program, at https://hca-nys.org/testing, covers tuition for the education, pre-test, post-test and certification of clinicians. HCA provides this coverage through a special grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation; there is no cost to the agency or the clinician to participate in this program.

Nearly 2,000 clinicians have registered for the training in the initial wave, and the Foundation has extended HCA’s grant authority through December 31. HCA urges all home care and hospice agencies to consider this training and to register at the link above.

Cardillo is currently in discussions with the state Department of Health (DOH) and the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to gain expanded Medicare coverage for individuals who are not in home care but whose physicians would refer to home care for testing. DOH is also currently finalizing procedures for Medicaid rate billing by home care agencies for the in-home testing.

Contact covid19@hcanys.org with any questions.