Testing all of the nation’s skilled nursing residents and staff just once for COVID-19 would cost $440 million, according to data released Wednesday from the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living.

The total includes providing testing to more than 1.3 million skilled care residents and more than 1.6 million workers nationwide, at an estimated per-test cost of $150. The estimate does not include testing in other seniors housing and care settings, AHCA/NCAL said.

The findings underscore just how expensive COVID-19 testing can be, and emphasizes the importance of additional emergency relief funds to help long-term care facilities fund expedited testing and the additional staffing needed to respond to the pandemic. 

According to AHCA/NCAL, the cost of testing is “unsustainable,” especially in light of new federal guidance issued Monday by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The latest directive calls for weekly testing of nursing home residents.

The article appeared in the McKnight’s Business Daily, a joint effort of McKnight’s Senior Living and McKnight’s Long-Term Care.