Sens. Warren and Smith Warn of ‘Significant Gaps’ in Coronavirus Testing

Democrat Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Tina Smith of Minnesota warned the Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday of  “significant gaps in COVID-19 testing capacity,” according to CNBC.

Warren and Smith wrote in a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar that they contacted the five major laboratories conducting coronavirus tests: Quest, BioReference, ARUP Labs, LabCorp., and the Mayo Clinic. They note that these labs reported a “large spike in COVID-19 diagnostic testing needs” last summer.

The labs also require additional supplies to continue work on improving testing capabilities, but noted that there is “confusion about payment and reimbursement for COVID-19 diagnostic testing as a result of Congressional and Administration inaction.”

The senators note that the labs have “called on Congress and the Administration to clarify when third party payers, the government, or other responsible parties should provide reimbursement for various types of COVID-19 testing, including for diagnostic, screening, or surveillance purposes.”

Warren and Smith end their letter by recommending several steps for the Trump administration, including to “invoke the Defense Production Act … clarify rules regarding payments for testing … provide detailed guidance on appropriate procedures for testing children and education and outreach … [and] work with independent pharmacies to address supply chain issues and provide greater access to tests.”