The important point to remember, Cleburne Fire Chief Scott Lail said, is that the city’s COVID-19 testing remains free of charge to Cleburne and county residents despite a recent federal government mandate change.
“When we started this a few weeks ago we were told not to collect insurance information from the patients,” Lail said. “But the federal government changed that a few days ago.”
Federal officials have now deemed it mandatory to collect insurance information to cover the costs of lab fees.
However, there is still no out-of-pocket expenses or other cost to the individual being tested. Nor does the mandate change bar those who are uninsured from being tested.
“If you are insured, we will be collecting your insurance information at the time of testing,” Lail said. “The mandate requires that private insurance, Medicare and Medicaid now cover the cost for testing. There will be no charge for co-payments, deductibles or coinsurance.”
Uninsured residents are still encouraged to get tested.
“Please do not worry,” Lail said. “You need only to call the bottom of the bill that you will receive in the mail and let them know that you are uninsured. The government will cover the cost of the test if you are uninsured. There will be no cost to the individual.”
Lail last week said the city planned to run the test site through today then evaluate whether or not to continue.
“Demand has remained pretty steady and high,” Lail said. “[May 28] puts us at a month. We’re definitely going to keep going into next week and probably into a sixth week. At that point we’ll look at it again and gauge demand. Depending on how busy we are at that point we may keep it going or reduce the number of testing days.
Testing for now remains available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Cleburne Senior Center, 1212 Glenwood Drive behind the Cleburne Conference Center.
Those being tested remain in their vehicle the entire time and the process takes about 15 minutes. Because a certain amount of patient information is required, reservations are recommended as they help speed the process. To make a reservation and/or for other questions, call 817-645-0964.
Test results take roughly 72 hours to come back.
“The quickest they’ve got back to us is 24 hours,” CFD Lt. Paul Rodriguez said. “And none have taken over 72 hours.”
Those eligible for testing include anyone who has come into contact with a known COVID-19 active positive person as well as anyone exhibiting one of the 13 symptoms associated with the virus. Those include: coughing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat or new loss of taste or smell.