Providers in Maryland are warning that facilities cannot bear the costs of mandatory coronavirus testing for staff members after state health officials announced that they will stop covering the testing costs in mid August.

The state health department announced last week that it would stop conducting and sponsoring employee testing to industry advocates, the Washington Post reported. Nursing homes will be expected to submit a plan to the state detailing how they will conduct their own weekly testing for staff members.

State regulations currently require nursing home staff members to be tested once per week — with tests costing between $100 and $125 per staff member, explained Allison Ciborowski, president of LeadingAge Maryland. 

“There are real concerns about the cost of this,” Ciborowski told local media. “This, coupled with all of the increased costs related to personal protective equipment really is putting a huge burden on providers that they are not set up to manage.”

The plans must be in place by Aug. 15, and providers are working with the state to find collaborative solutions before that deadline, Ciborowski said. 

Maryland state health officials justified the move saying that providers should be able to cover the testing costs thanks to federal coronavirus relief funding. 

In May, the Department of Health and Human Services announced $4.9 billion in funding dedicated to skilled nursing operators. The funding was aimed at support operators who have experienced significant costs or loss of revenue due to COVID-19. Last week, the federal government announced an additional $5 billion for providers.