woman being tested for COVID

Approximately two-thirds (66%) of LeadingAge members responding to a new survey said they have received rapid-results antigen tests for COVID-19 from the federal government, but 37% of them have not used them, according to the results of the poll, released Monday.

The association queried members during the first week of November to gauge their experiences with various government-supplied point-of-care tests. Of 547 respondents, 56% said they provide assisted living, 85% offer skilled nursing, 10.4% provide home healthcare and 9.7% offer hospice care.

Providers reported using various types of tests for COVID-19, including polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, tests (62%), with collections taken on-site and sent to an outside lab; BD Veritor point-of-care tests (54%); and Abbott BinaxNOW cards (46%), the kind of test the government has sent to assisted living communities.

In September, the federal government said that more than 900,000 of the Abbott rapid point-of-care antigen tests already had been shipped to assisted living communities and that 15 million would be shipped to such communities in the coming weeks. Additional Abbott tests were destined for nursing homes and home health and hospice organizations.

Sixty-six percent of survey participants said they had received the Abbott rapid point-of-care antigen tests from the government. Although 63% of providers who have those tests said they are using them, 37% of providers who said they have the tests said they are not using them.

Survey respondents gave the following reasons for not using the tests:

  1. They perceive PCR tests as more reliable.
  2. They already have PCR testing protocols in place.
  3. They believe reporting requirements are too cumbersome.
  4. They only recently have received the Abbott tests.
  5. They are using other point-of-care testing supplies first.

Of the 66% of respondents who have received the Abbott tests, 46% of them said they have received multiple deliveries, whereas approximately 20% said they have received one delivery.