Health and Wellness Statewide News

Assistance and reimbursement to promote more COVID-19 testing in Homes for the Aged expands in Michigan

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) urges Homes for the Aged (HFA) to conduct regular testing for COVID-19, and announced an expansion of state assistance and reimbursement to support more testing in these facilities. 

HFAs provide room, board and supervised personal care to 21 or more individuals ages 55 or older. Due to the significant risk of outbreaks in long-term care facilities and the higher likelihood of severe health outcomes caused by COVID-19 among the elderly, it is imperative that HFAs provide routine testing to identify infections quickly and contain spread. As of Sept. 10, 45 ongoing outbreaks and four new outbreaks had been reported at long-term care facilities across Michigan, including nursing homes, HFAs, assisted living and adult day care. 

“COVID-19 presents acute risks to older adults, especially in congregate care settings,” said Robert Gordon, director of MDHHS.

“Robust testing is vital to protect these facilities, and the residents and staff from outbreaks,” Gordon added. “We encourage all Homes for the Aged to start testing programs to protect residents as quickly as possible if they haven’t already; the state stands ready to help with testing resources and funding.” 

MDHHS recommends HFAs in regions of medium risk or higher on the MI Safe Start Map, test all residents and staff: 

  • One-time baseline testing of all residents and staff.
  • Weekly testing, until all staff and residents are negative for 14 days since the last positive test.
  • At the time of admission for new residents.
  • Before new staff members start work.
  • When having COVID symptoms.
  • After close contact with a COVID-positive individual (within six feet for fifteen minutes or more).

To help implement these recommendations and encourage more testing in HFAs, MDHHS is providing expanded testing assistance and reimbursement.

HFAs that conduct COVID-19 testing for residents or staff will be eligible for reimbursement of laboratory costs not covered by insurance or by other types of state assistance. MDHHS Financial Guidance for HFA Testing provides more details on this process. 

Facilities can alternatively seek state assistance to conduct testing. The state can provide medical staff, supplies, and/or laboratory processing, depending on the needs of the facility. HFAs with a medical provider who can order a test should complete the state’s testing request template and submit it to MDHHS at MDHHS-LTCRequests@michigan.gov. HFAs without a medical provider to order the test should contact their local health department to request testing assistance. 

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