(Update) Cullman Regional doctors have COVID-19 test option for those denied by ADPH

Cullman Regional (January 2018 Cullman Tribune file photo)

Updated 3-13-20 9:05 a.m.

CULLMAN, Ala. – Testing for COVID-19 is now available from Cullman Regional’s reference lab, Mayo Medical Laboratory, for patients who are denied testing from the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) whose physicians still want them tested, according to Cullman Regional Vice President, Marketing Lindsey Dossey.

“We are still using the CDC/ADPH guidelines regarding testing,” said Dossey. “This testing option is only if patients are denied testing from ADPH and the physician still wants to submit a test for a patient.”

Dossey said the turnaround time for the Mayo test is three to four days. The cost for the test, if it’s not covered by insurance, is $1,057.50.

“ADPH provides testing for free if patients meet their criteria,” she said. “So this is why we don’t recommend mass testing at this point. However, we want our physicians to have control over getting their patients tested if they feel like their patient needs to be tested. Therefore, we are glad to have an option for them now.”

CULLMAN, Ala. – Some Birmingham news stations on Tuesday reported that a woman from Cullman County claimed to have trouble finding someone to test her daughter for the coronavirus. The 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) causes the disease known as COVID-19.

Cullman Regional Vice President, Marketing Lindsey Dossey said Wednesday she could not answer specific questions on the reports, as they did not identify anything specific to the case, such as a patient name or in which location she was trying to seek treatment.

“However,” she said,I can comment regarding our policy at Cullman Regional facilities only, which includes Emergency Department, Cullman Regional Urgent Care Center (on our campus) (and) Cullman Regional Medical Group clinics. Our facilities utilize the CDC guidelines for testing which can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/index.html.

 “According to these guidelines, we do an initial screening to identify if they have the following:

“- Fever, cough, respiratory illness – all patients who present with this are asked to place a mask on to protect all other patients and staff.

“- Travel history over the past 14 days outside of the United States to one of the known infected COVID-19 areas – China, Italy, Iran, Japan or South Korea

“- Have they come in contact with someone who traveled outside of the United States to one of the known infected areas and then became sick. These patients are moved to private areas for further evaluation.

“- Or have the patients had prolonged contact with someone who had a confirmed positive test for COVID-19.”

Dossey said the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) makes the decision about whether a patient meets criteria for testing.

“If the patient meets initial criteria, we collect information and submit a ‘Person Under Investigation (PUI)’ form to the Alabama Department of Public Health who then tells us whether or not the patient meets criteria for testing,” she said. “Testing is currently only available through the State. There are a couple of independent lab facilities that announced they would begin testing soon. Therefore, independent physicians and hospitals are somewhat limited as to what they can do if ADPH doesn’t approve a patient for testing.”

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Wendy Sack