HARTFORD, CT – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that his administration is lifting certain regulations on who can order diagnostic tests to allow for a major expansion of COVID-19 testing in the state. This includes the suspension of the requirement that patients receive a referral from a physician or other prescribing medical provider (such as a physician assistant, advanced practice registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, or certified nurse practitioner) prior to being administered a COVID-19 test, and the modification of state laws and regulations in order to allow these tests to be conducted by pharmacists.
The governor explained that this will help the state in its overall goal of significantly increasing the number of people who are receiving tests, particularly for those in underserved communities or who may not have a primary care physician. He also said that allowing the COVID-19 tests to be administered at pharmacies will increase access, especially within more populated, urban areas and facilitate increased screening of essential front-line workers.
“One of our top priorities to combat COVID-19 is to significantly increase testing. This includes focusing on testing everyone who has any symptoms and increasing screening of asymptomatic people in nursing homes, correctional facilities, health care facilities, and disadvantaged communities,” Governor Lamont said. “We continue to work with suppliers every day to get the materials needed to conduct these tests to support this expansion.”
The suspension of the regulation that required prior referrals for COVID-19 tests from medical providers was enacted through an implementation order that was signed by Public Health Commissioner Renée D. Coleman-Mitchell. The modification of the state statute to allow pharmacists to order and administer the tests is accomplished through an executive order Governor Lamont signed this afternoon.
Each of the state’s COVID-19 testing sites continue to require appointments be made in advance prior to arriving. There is no cost to be tested for COVID-19. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act guarantees all Americans can receive free testing. This includes those with private insurance, government insurance (Medicare, Medicare Advantage, HUSKY, VA, FEHBP, and TRICARE), and even those with no insurance.
Both of the orders will remain in place as needed for the duration of the declared public health and civil preparedness emergency.