COVID-19 test bottle marked 'positive' next to sealed nasal swab

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has unveiled the names of nursing homes set to receive the COVID-19 point-of-care testing devices in its second wave. 

About 11,800 nursing homes will receive the equipment in the second round of distribution, according to the agency. Facilities in this second wave were prioritized by whether they were in coronavirus hotspot areas, COVID-19 incidence rate, if they have inadequate access to testing, and by case and death totals. 

Hotspot states identified for wave two include: South Carolina, Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Idaho, Georgia, Mississippi, California, Texas and North Carolina. Providers should receive the equipment by the end of September, officials said. 

CMS announced the first wave of facilities to receive the testing devices in late July. All of those providers should have received their equipment by mid-August.

The federal government announced the effort to supply nursing homes with a single shipment of point-of-care testing devices in early July. The federal government categorized the deliveries by facility size: 

  • Small facilities: 150 tests, 1 instrument
  • Small-to-medium facilities: 240-250 tests, 1 instrument  
  • Medium facilities: 325-330 tests, 1 instrument  
  • Large facilities: 600 tests, 1 instrument  
  • Major outlier facilities: 900+ tests, 2 instruments 

George Linial, president and CEO of LeadingAge Texas, criticized the amount of testing supplies being sent to providers during a late July press conference. More than 800 facilities in Texas have been slated to receive the devices in the first two distribution rounds. 

“The instruments will do no good without adequate test kits to regularly test staff. There has been no communication regarding future availability of these test kits and the distributors that we have spoken with say it could be months before ample testing supplies are available.” Linial said. 

“State-of-the-art testing equipment with adequate supplies to test every staff and visitors to a nursing facility must be included in this [federal] response,” he added. 

Executives for CareTrust REIT expressed optimism about the effort during an earnings call earlier this month.

“This has been the giant missing piece in the infection control puzzle of the nation’s inpatient care facilities,” CareTrust CEO Greg Stapely said. 

“Real-time testing in places where so many of our most susceptible citizens reside should begin saving lots of lives immediately,” he added.