Offering COVID-19 testing services could engender good will and bring new patients to your practice—or it could lead to disappointment, lost opportunity, or even legal scrutiny. In New York, the attorney general has warned various entities who advertise a specific turnaround time on COVID-19 tests that they’d better make good on their promises or face stiff consequences. In the Midwest, federal health officials as well as investigators from several states are investigating the practices of a Chicago-based testing company after reports that the company has been lax in properly storing and identifying samples, as well as reporting inaccurate test results. And then there are urgent care operators that are essentially making COVID testing a separate line of business out of which patients show up for a COVID test, but are never assessed for any other illness if their COVID test is negative regardless of their symptoms. Conversely, other patients enter the “regular” urgent care flow to be tested for influenza or a respiratory infection but are never tested for COVID. Either way, patients can leave with insufficient care that they’re likely to remember the next time they need to see someone for immediate complaints—and they’ll probably choose another option. Especially with COVID-19 likely transitioning from pandemic to endemic status, it is essential that corresponding services be integrated into your practice, not treated as a distinct entity.
Go About It the Wrong Way and COVID Testing Could Cost You in a Number of Ways