Tag Archives: testing

Reporter looks at misuse of rapid COVID-19 tests in nursing homes

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Transmission electron micrograph of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, isolated from a patient.

Photo: NIAID via FlickrTransmission electron micrograph of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, isolated from a patient.

It can be difficult in normal times to get reliable, timely information from many long-term care facilities without filing FOIAs or diving deep into inspection reports. During this COVID-19 pandemic, it can be nearly impossible. So when Kaiser Health News’ Rachana Pradhan wanted to learn whether, and how, nursing homes were conducting all-important testing of residents and staff, it’s not surprising she ran into a few roadblocks. Continue reading

As death rates rise, nursing and LTC facilities face critical testing, PPE challenges

Joseph Burns Liz Seegert

About Joseph Burns and Liz Seegert

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. Liz Seegert (@lseegert), based in New York City, is AHCJ’s topic leader on aging.

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living say officials in 33 states with a COVID-19 test positivity rate of 5% or higher (states shaded in red and pink) should ensure that nursing homes have adequate supplies of personal protective equipment, pressure clinical laboratories to expedite test results and take other steps to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Source: State-By-State Breakdown: COVID-19 Testing Positivity Rates Among The General Population, AHCA/NCALThe American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living say officials in 33 states with a COVID-19 test positivity rate of 5% or higher (states shaded in red and pink) should ensure that nursing homes have adequate supplies of personal protective equipment, pressure clinical laboratories to expedite test results and take other steps to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Six months after the first nursing home residents died of the novel coronavirus, many nursing homes and long-term care facilities continue to face a shortage of personal protective equipment, test kits, delayed test results and worker shortages. At the same time, positivity rates continue to climb in many states and, once again, nursing homes are among the leading sources of death and infections nationwide.

The COVID-19 Nursing Home Data tracker of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), reports more than 164,055 residents have confirmed cases of the virus and more than 102,531 have suspected cases as of July 26, according to the most recently available data. Continue reading

Local officials on watch for unauthorized COVID-19 test sites

Cheryl Clark

About Cheryl Clark

Cheryl Clark (@CherClarHealth) is AHCJ's core topic leader for patient safety, a MedPage Today contributor and inewsource.org investigative journalist. For most of 27 years, she covered medicine and science for the San Diego Union-Tribune. After taking a buyout in 2008, she became senior quality editor for HealthLeaders Media.

Cars lined up Wednesday afternoon at the COVID Clinic testing site near Cardiff-by-the-Sea, before it was shuttered by San Diego County health officials.

Photo: Cheryl ClarkCars lined up Wednesday afternoon at the COVID Clinic testing site before it was shuttered by San Diego County health officials.

Cities, counties and states around the country are probably on heightened alert for unauthorized pop-up COVID-19 testing operations after San Diego County took steps to shut down one such clinic Wednesday, lest a bogus test give someone a false result and jeopardize public health.

For $75, COVID Clinic invited applicants to sign up for COVID-19 IgM and IgG serology antibody, or “finger poke” tests, with partial results in 15 minutes. Continue reading

AHCJ webcast to feature Harvard pathologist on coronavirus testing

Joseph Burns Bara Vaida

About Joseph Burns and Bara Vaida

Joseph Burns, a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. Bara Vaida is AHCJ's topic leader on infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

Photo: Centers for Disease Control and PreventionThis is the CDC’s laboratory test kit for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

As the number of SARS-CoV-2 infections and deaths due to the COVID-19 disease increase daily nationwide, journalists are asking why the United States lags so far behind other countries in introducing clinical laboratory tests for the virus that causes the illness.

Some strong examples of such coverage in the last few days include “11 to 100,000: What went wrong with coronavirus testing in the U.S.?,” by Meg Kelly, Sarah Cahlan and Elyse Samuels at The Washington Post on March 30, and “The Lost Month: How a Failure to Test Blinded the U.S. to Covid-19,” by Michael D. Shear, Abby Goodnough, Sheila Kaplan, Sheri Fink, Katie Thoma s and Noah Weiland at The New York Times on March 28. Continue reading

Congress, regulators offer financial relief for Americans seeking tests, treatment for new coronavirus

Joseph Burns Bara Vaida

About Joseph Burns and Bara Vaida

Joseph Burns, a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. Bara Vaida is AHCJ's topic leader on infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

Photo: Centers for Disease Control and PreventionThis is the CDC’s laboratory test kit for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

The just-passed multibillion-dollar Families First Coronavirus Response Act includes free diagnostic testing for the new COVID-19 illness — for those fortunate enough to get a test if needed. The law also includes paid sick leave, nutrition assistance and boosts unemployment benefits for Americans out of work due to the pandemic, as Barbara Sprunt reported for NPR.

President Trump signed the bill into law after the U.S. Senate passed it on Wednesday. The House of Representatives had approved it the previous week. Continue reading

Story about genetic testing company’s problems shows how good reporting stands up to criticism

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Canadian Blood Services via Flickr

In December 2016, Charles Piller (@cpiller), the west coast editor for Stat, reported that a genetic test to identify patients who could be prone to addiction lacked a firm scientific basis.

With an eye-opening headline, “Called ‘hogwash,’ a gene test for addiction risk exploits opioid fears,” the article raised important questions about the Proove Opioid Risk test from Proove Biosciences in Irvine, Calif. Continue reading