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DOH Imposes New Requirements on COVID-19 and Flu Point-of-Care Test Providers

The Department of Health (DOH) issued guidance on Sept. 21st requiring all laboratories, including health care providers conducting point-of-care testing, to collect additional demographic data concerning patients receiving COVID-19 tests and to report results of flu and COVID-19 tests within three hours.

Under the new guidance, all health care providers who order or administer COVID-19 tests must collect and report whether a patient attends or works in a school and, if so, the name and location of the school. This includes elementary, secondary, and post-secondary/higher education. In addition, providers must list the patient’s local address if different from their permanent address. The Department notes that it is working with hospitals, labs, and electronic health record (EHR) vendors to implement dedicated fields to capture this information. Until those changes are made, all health care providers are expected to use the “occupation” field to enter the school information.

The new guidance concerning reporting of results is somewhat unclear. In a cover letter accompanying the guidance documents, the Commissioner of Health notes that both COVID-19 and influenza test results must be reported within three hours of receiving results. However, in the guidance documents, "offices" conducting tests are required to report COVID-19 results within three hours, and all clinical labs and health care providers and physician office labs conducting point-of-care testing are required to report influenza results within three hours. It is likely that the differences in wording were inadvertent and that both types of results must be reported within three hours. We have sought clarification from DOH.

All information and test results must be reported electronically through the Department's Electronic Clinical Laboratory Reporting System (ECLRS). Instructions on reporting the new data elements will be distributed to each facility’s designated point of contact for ECLRS.

Questions related to reporting may be directed to ECLRS at 866-325-7743 or via email here

Contact: Karen Lipson, klipson@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8838