Two COVID-19 testing sites in Lexington to close

UPDATE: (2/4/21, 12:00 P.M.) – Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton’s office released additional information Thursday regarding the closure of two COVID-19 sites in the city.

Susan Straub with the mayor’s office issued the following statement to ABC36:

“The city remains committed to offering COVID-19 testing at no cost to citizens. We recently had to temporarily close our public testing sites because of confusion over billing. We have now partially resolved these issues.

Some citizens received “explanation of benefits” notices from their insurance companies after getting a test at one of the public testing sites, Bluegrass Community and Technical College or through the Mayor’s Mobile Neighborhood Testing program. These are not bills, but they do indicate that the citizens will be responsible for a portion of the bill.

Sphere Diagnostics, the company that is conducting the testing, has confirmed that citizens will never receive a bill for these tests. There will be no out-of-pocket costs for these citizens.

Questions remain about the future of the city’s public testing program. We continue to work to determine if we will be able to continue the public testing without out-of-pocket costs to citizens. In the meantime, citizens can get a test with no out-of-pocket costs through the program offered by the University of Kentucky. Appointments can be made HERE.”

ORIGINAL STORY POSTED 11 a.m. WEDNESDAY, FEB. 3, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Two COVID-19 testing sites in Lexington will close temporarily, according to a spokesperson from the mayor’s office.

Both the Red Mile and Bluegrass Community & Technical College sites will shut down.

Susan Straub, with the mayor’s office, tells ABC36, some people have been billed for COVID-19 tests they received at Bluegrass Community and Technical College or through the Mayor’s Mobile Neighborhood Testing Program.

“We are looking into the reason why. We don’t have any firm answers yet. We have no reason to think the issue is the company that is currently providing the tests,” said Straub.

Straub said the closures will hopefully be temporary until things get ironed out.

The company proving the tests is SphereDX Testing labs. Both the Mayor’s Office and SphereDX confirmed it was a combined decision to close the sites.

However, the CEO of SphereDX, Bobby Sturgeon, said it was for a different reason.
Sturgeon said the sites are shut down because Medicare was no longer authorizing payments for community-based testing without a doctor’s order. Medicare notified the lab at the end of January, and the new policy was retroactive for January 1.

He explained this would determine if Medicare reimburses the lab for a test or not. He was unsure if the lab will be reimbursed for January.

Sturgeon said the company is verifying the rules of community-based testing to make sure people aren’t billed and the lab won’t be financially impacted before resuming testing.

He said if you have insurance, a bill will be sent to your provider. Under the CARES Act, Sturgeon explained insurance companies are required to pay for your COVID-19 test.

In the meantime, anyone who gets a bill should email mayor@lexingtonky.gov.

If you’ve received a bill for a COVID-19 test at either location, send us an email HERE.

This is a developing story. Check back with ABC36 for additional information.

You can find a full list of COVID-19 testing sites in the city HERE.

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