Long-term care providers in Missouri expressed concern about the pace of coronavirus testing within the state after regulators suspended a lab over accuracy concerns.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services suspended the Gamma Healthcare laboratory in Poplar Bluff, MO, earlier this month, according to an ABC News report. Overall, the company handles COVID-19 testing for about 2,500 nursing homes in 11 states.
CMS found that two testing machines at the Missouri lab operated for months producing false-negatives on more than 25% of known-positive COVID-19 samples, according to the report. There were also multiple false positives from the lab.
Western District of Missouri Judge M. Douglas Harpool on Wednesday declined to intervene and re-open the company’s Missouri lab after it filed a suit to stay open, saying it had fixed the issues. He said CMS has the authority to decide if the lab is safe to operate and encouraged the company to exhaust administrative channels first to appeal the agency’s decision.
Providers in the state noted that one less lab operating in the state could have a negative impact on providers as they try to meet federal testing requirements.
“Any instate lab we lose for COVID testing will have an impact and is especially devastating given the testing frequency our facilities are required to follow under the current CMS guidance,” Nikki Strong, executive director for the The Missouri Health Care Association, said in a statement.
A lab in Massachusetts was suspended in early August after investigators found that it had sent more than 300 flawed and incorrect test results to nursing facilities throughout the state.