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Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Health Officer Order Requiring Testing by Larger Healthcare Systems

What does this order mean for hospitals and their clinics?

It means that when one of their patients has COVID-19 symptoms, was exposed to someone with COVID-19, is referred to them for testing by the County Public Health Department, or is an essential worker as defined by California Regulations​, the hospital or clinic is required to provide that patient with a COVID-19 test.

Who will hospital and clinics be required to test?

  1. All of their patients with COVID-19 symptoms;
  2. All of their patients who have been exposed to a person who tested positive for COVID-19;
  3. All of their patients who have been referred by the County Public Health Department for COVID-19 testing; and
  4. Essential workers as defined by the COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing emergency regulations of the California Department of Managed Health Care​, 28 C.C.R. § 1300.67.01(b)(5). This includes people who may be at greater risk of COVID-19 exposure, such as: healthcare workers; care providers for the elderly or disabled; people working in shelters, jails, or other settings with large residential populations; first responders; grocery and food service workers; agricultural and food supply workers; public transit workers; childcare, school, and higher education teachers and staff; and all others who are included in the regulation.

What constitutes “exposure” to a person who tested positive for COVID-19?

You have been exposed to a person who tested positive for COVID-19 if you were within six (6) feet of that individual for at least fifteen (15) minutes.

How should hospitals and clinics confirm that an individual has been exposed to a person who tested positive for COVID-19 or is an essential worker?

Hospitals and clinics should rely on information provided by the patient and should not require verification that an individual was exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 or is an essential worker.

Can I go to an emergency room for a COVID-19 test?

No one should go to an emergency room unless they require emergency care. No one should go to an emergency room solely to obtain a COVID-19 test.  If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, you should contact your doctor to seek treatment and obtain a COVID-19 test.  And if you are experiencing a medical emergency, you should seek treatment at an emergency room.

Can I get a test at a Kaiser facility if I’m not a Kaiser member?

The order does not require Kaiser to provide testing to non-Kaiser members in its clinics.  However, Kaiser will be required to provide COVID-19 testing to anyone receiving care in its facilities (including urgent care clinics or emergency rooms) who has COVID-19 symptoms, was exposed to someone with COVID-19, or is an essential worker.

I go to Palo Alto Medical Foundation for care.  Will I be able to get tested if I am an essential worker?

Yes, if you are an essential worker as defined by the COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing emergency regulation of the California Department of Managed Health Care, 28 C.C.R. § 1300.67.01(b)(5) (for example, first responder, grocery store worker, pharmacy clerk, etc.), and you are a patient of Palo Alto Medical Foundation (“PAMF”), PAMF is required to provide you a COVID-19 test if you request one.

I go to a Stanford clinic for my care.  Will they test me if I have no symptoms but work as a grocery store clerk?

Yes.  Because you are considered an essential worker under the COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing emergency regulation of the California Department of Managed Health Care, 28 C.C.R. § 1300.67.01(b)(5), Stanford is required to provide you a COVID-19 test if you request one.

How can I find a testing site if I don’t have a healthcare provider?

There are many places in the County where people without insurance can get a free COVID-19 test. Information on these testing sites is available at www.sccfreetest.org.

I’m having symptoms of COVID-19.  Where should I go?

Contact your primary care provider to arrange for testing and directions on what to do.  If you need emergency care, go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

Will I still have to make an appointment to be tested?

Contact your primary care provider to arrange for testing.  Generally, you should not be required to schedule an appointment with your doctor prior to being tested for COVID-19 if you do not have COVID-19 symptoms.

How long do I have to wait to get tested?

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, were exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, or have been referred by the County Health Department to your healthcare provider for COVID-19 testing, you must be provided a test at the time you present for care if you do so in person or not later than the end of the following calendar day if you sought care remotely (e.g., through a call center or patient portal).  If you are an essential worker, your healthcare provider must provide you with a COVID-19 test within 3 business days of your request for one.

How frequently can I get tested?

Healthcare providers must provide COVID-19 testing to any patient with COVID-19 symptoms, who was exposed to a person who tested positive for COVID-19, or who has been referred by the County Public Health Department to their healthcare provider for COVID-19 testing regardless of the last time the patient was tested.  Healthcare providers may, however, ask patients who are essential workers who do not fall into any of the other categories of eligibility for testing to wait up to 14 calendar days since their last COVID-19 test.

How long do I need to wait to get my test results?

Healthcare providers are required to provide the results of any COVID-19 tests within 3 calendar days from the date they provide the test.  If healthcare providers are not able to meet this time requirement, they must provide notice to the County explaining the delay and what they’re doing to solve it.

Will all hospitals provide COVID-19 testing?

Yes.  The Order requires hospitals and their clinics to provide COVID-19 testing to any patient who has COVID-19 symptoms, was exposed to a person who tested positive for COVID-19, has been referred by the County Public Health Department for COVID-19 testing, or is an essential worker.  However, no one should go to a hospital to be tested for COVID-19 unless they need emergency care.

Does this Order require large healthcare systems to test me for COVID-19 antibodies?

No.  This Order only requires diagnostic testing for COVID-19 to determine whether certain categories of patients currently have COVID-19.  It does not apply to antibody testing.

What should I do if I qualify for a COVID-19 test under this Order but my healthcare provider refuses to provide me with the test?

If you believe that a large healthcare system is not complying with the terms of the Order, you should first file a complaint or raise a concern with the designated management or patient care contact at your healthcare provider.  As a reminder, this Order only applies to hospitals, and clinics associated with healthcare systems that also own or operate a hospital.  

If your healthcare provider does not provide an adequate response, please submit a complaint at www.scccovidconcerns.org. ​​

 

 

 

 

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Last updated: 9/17/2020 5:24 PM