COVID-19 TESTING INFORMATION
COVID-19 testing is available through our practice in various forms. The options can be confusing, so we have included information below to help you make a decision on which testing option is best for you. All testing is subject to availability of supplies.
- TEST-ONLY VISIT: For those who are ASYMPTOMATIC (do not have any symptoms of COVID-19), have NOT had any contact with a person with COVID-19, and have NOT had a positive COVID-19 test within the last 14 days, you may be tested without seeing a healthcare provider. This testing option is offered at a self-pay rate of $150 (payment by cash, check, or credit card) for a PCR or Antigen-detection nasal test (please see below for details). All testing is subject to the availability of supplies, so we do not recommend getting both tests as it depletes the supply chain faster. If your situation demands both the quick antigen test and a PCR test or an antibody test the additional cost for each test is $125.
Please be aware that PCR tests are sent out to a third-party lab (either state or private lab) and depending upon the national CARES Act status you may receive a bill from the lab for processing the test (currently $100). As of now, the time it takes to receive results is subject to change and is dependent on the time it takes the lab to process tests. Our practice has no control over the time it will take to receive PCR results and it changes daily depending on regional outbreaks.
- BE SEEN BY A HEALTHCARE PROVIDER: If you have symptoms of COVID-19, have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or wish to use your insurance, you must be evaluated by one of our healthcare providers. We are offering virtual Telemedicine visits for all of our ill patients.
Please refer to your insurance policy benefits for any urgent care copay and/or deductible, as these differ depending on your specific insurance provider and plan. Many insurance companies are temporarily waiving copays and deductible collections for COVID-related visits. However, some insurance companies MAY NOT cover two COVID-19 tests in a single day and you may be responsible for the additional cost. Please contact your insurance provider for any related questions.
AVAILABLE TESTING OPTIONS1
- PCR Testing2 – Used to identify active COVID-19 viral infection, this test is currently considered to be the most accurate test available at this time and is the most highly recommended. This test is conducted by performing a nasal swab with a long Q-tip, similar to the flu test. Samples are preserved in a special liquid and sent to an outside lab for processing. The time to receive results varies depending on the number of tests the lab has to process daily and is subject to change. In general, it may take the lab anywhere from 2-7 days to process a test, although we have seen periods up to 14 days. Our practice has no control over the time it takes to receive results.
- Antigen Testing – Often called the “Rapid Test,” this test is used to identify active COVID-19 viral infection in clinic. Similar to the flu test, this test is conducted by performing a nasal swab and results are generally obtained in 15 minutes or less. The accuracy of this test is moderate and it has been shown to result in some “false negatives” (I.e. a COVID-positive person falsely tests negative). It is considered a good test for someone strongly thought to be negative (I.e. no symptoms and no contact with a COVID-positive person). It is recommended that any person with symptoms of COVID-19 and/or contact with a COVID-positive person should receive a PCR test and self-quarantine while awaiting the test result.
- Antibody Testing– Used in a healthy person to identify if he/she has been previously exposed to or infected with the COVID-19 virus. This test can be performed in any person who has been SYMPTOM-FREE and has NOT had exposure to a COVID-positive person within the last 14 days or more. These tests are performed by collecting a sample of blood that is sent to an outside lab for testing. The accuracy of antibody testing is not well-determined. We are not widely recommending antibody testing at this time due to concerns over its accuracy. The time to receive results varies depending on the number of tests the lab has to process daily and is subject to change. In general, it may take the lab anywhere from 2-7 days to process a test, although we have seen periods up to 14 days. Our practice has no control over the time it takes to receive results.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Are these tests accurate?
A: The accuracy of these tests is being studied. As with most tests available today, there will always be some “false negatives” and “false positives.” The PCR test is considered to be the most accurate testing option available, while the “Rapid Test” is thought to be less accurate. It is important to listen to input from your healthcare provider and make a decision together with your provider.
Q: Are the tests FDA approved?
A: Unfortunately, there are currently no COVID-19 tests that are fully FDA approved.. This process typically takes years. Because of the potential severity of the COVID-19 virus and the rapidity of its spread throughout the world, the FDA has allowed testing companies that meet certain requirements to release COVID tests under the “Emergency Use Authorization” program.
Recently, our wait times have been higher than normal. We are seeing an unprecedented number of patients and, at times, it may be difficult for us to move our patients along as soon as they—and we—would like. Let us know if you would like to wait at home, run errands, or wait in your vehicle if it seems that your wait time is going to be long. We will be happy to call you when it is your turn to be roomed. We also offer the option for virtual TELEMEDICINE visits so that you may be evaluated by one of our healthcare providers in the comfort of your own home.
It is our commitment to our patients to stay open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and to treat each patient with the respect and consideration he/she deserves. We understand that everyone is experiencing stress related to this pandemic, but please be considerate of our staff. They work hard to take care our community and oftentimes experience the same stressors that you do. Please help us by being patient and kind toward our front desk, medical technicians, and professional staff.
We sincerely appreciate your continued patronage, kindness, and support throughout this pandemic!
1If you are needing clearance to travel or to return to school, sports, or work, please confirm if you are required to get a specific test (I.e. PCR). We are unable to guarantee the time it will take to receive PCR test results. This time is subject to change and is dependent on the time it takes the lab to process tests.
2Free COVID-19 testing may be available through the CO Department of Public Health. They can be reached at (303) 389-1687 or (877) 462-2911.