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Opinion: Four crucial lessons for improving Covid-19 testing

April 8, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 18.7%. 1 min read.

Reliable, accurate and timely Covid-19 testing data can help end the pandemic. The time to consider prioritize collecting this data is now, while plans for more robust testing infrastructure are underway, write Christi A. Grimm and Michael E. Horowitz

As the government works to expand and improve Covid-19 testing, federal health care programs' experiences with testing during the early months of the pandemic are instructive.

The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, PRAC, created by Congress to conduct oversight of emergency pandemic spending and comprised of federal inspectors general, issued a January 2021 report, "Federal COVID-19 Testing Report: Data Insights from Six Federal Health Care Programs," that analyzed Covid-19 testing data collected in several diverse federal health programs from February through August 2020 to provide policymakers with objective, data-driven insights.

But information about test processing times was not readily available in all federal health programs included in the PRAC report.

Fourth, the PRAC report found that, for programs with available data, Covid-19 test recipients generally represented the demographics of the populations served by those federal health care programs.

The PRAC report does not tell the full story of Covid-19 testing nationwide, much of which occurred outside the selected federal health care programs.

What payment policies are appropriate for testing during a public health emergency?What data is needed to ensure effective and efficient testing efforts?Will testing be available to populations most impacted by Covid-19?

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