Free Over-The-Counter COVID Tests for RHCs - Order Now!

Nathan Baugh, Director of Government Affairs

12/20/2021

In early December, the Biden Administration announced that they would be distributing Over-The-Counter COVID tests to certain health care facilities including Rural Health Clinics. Today, that program launches for all 5,000 rural health clinics nationwide.

If you follow the steps below, and complete your order by Tuesday you should be able to get some tests from the first shipment!

The intent of this program is to have the RHCs distribute testing kits for free to your community. You may also give these testing kits away to your patients.

We want to note that this is intended to be an ongoing program, meaning that you should be able to order supply of Over-the-Counter COVID testing kits in the weeks and months to come. NARHC encourages all RHCs to sign up today!

Please see the official message below from HRSA for details:

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that all Medicare-certified Rural Health Clinics are invited to order free, FDA-approved COVID-19 self-testing supplies for distribution in their communities through the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) COVID-19 Testing Supply Program.

How to Enroll in the HRSA COVID-19 Testing Supply Program

The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) will help you enroll in the HRSA COVID-19 Testing Supply Program.

  1. Confirm that you are a Medicare-certified Rural Health Clinic and identify your CMS Certification Number (CCN). If you are unsure, visit the CMS QCOR website to look up your CCN number and confirm your status as a Medicare-certified RHC. .
  2. Visit the online registration to provide FORHP with some basic information about your Rural Health Clinic including shipping address and hours of operation.
  3. Sign the HRSA COVID-19 Testing Supply Program Conditions of Participation Agreement (linked here) and return it to RHCTestKit.HRSA@hrsa.gov. You may sign in whatever way is easier for you - either electronically or by returning a printed and manually signed document.

Ordering Information and Delivery Logistics

Testing supplies must be requested via an online ordering system, called the Diagnostics Partner Ordering Portal (DPOP).

FORHP will use your enrollment information to create a DPOP account for your Rural Health Clinic. You must complete step 2 and step 3 of the enrollment process in order for FORHP to create a DPOP account for your Rural Health Clinic.

Before placing your first order, confirm that your site Point of Contact, receiving address, and site hours are correct in DPOP or update accordingly.

All orders must be received by midnight local time on Tuesdays in order to be included in the next week’s shipment. At this time we anticipate 7-10 calendar days for the test kits to arrive at your healthcare facility.

You must be able to receive a truck with a 53-foot trailer (e.g. an 18-wheeler) at your facility/the location where you will be storing the test kits. If you are UNABLE to receive an 18-wheeler at your facility but are still interested in receiving free, FDA-approved COVID-19 testing supplies, please email RHCTestKit.HRSA@hrsa.gov and we will reach out if the shipping requirements change.

Ordering Considerations

  • You have the option to order tests in multiples of individual shippers (45 test kits per shipper) or pallets (1,350 test kits per pallet).
  • shipper (45 test kits) is 22.5 lbs with dimensions 19-3/4 L x 15-1/4 W x 9-1/2 H (inches).
  • pallet (1,350 test kits) is approximately 675 lbs with dimensions 48 L x 40 W x 56 H (inches). Each pallet contains 30 shippers.
  • Each test kit contains two tests. Each test kit is intended for use with one individual with the second test occurring at least 24 hours and no more than 36 hours between tests.
  • As of December 2021, participating RHCs can order a minimum of 5 shippers (225 test kits total) during each ordering cycle. The maximum order is 300 shippers (67,500 test kits total).

Storage

Test kits must be stored at room temperature (15-25?C/59-77?F)
Rapid Self-Test/At-Home/Over-the-Counter Test Product

  • Quidel QuickVue® - intended for the qualitative detection of the nucleocapsid proteins from SARS-CoV-2 from individuals with or without symptoms or other epidemiological reasons to suspect COVID-19 when tested twice over two or three days with at least 24 hours and no more than 36 hours between tests
  • The Quidel QuickVue® Test:
    • Rapid antigen test that an individual can self-administer at home
    • Results available within 10 minutes
    • Can be used if symptomatic, asymptomatic, or within 6 days of symptom onset
    • Can be self-administered for use by those 14 years of age and older and for those 2-13 years of age, if an adult performs the test
  • Test kits will have a shelf life of one year.

Questions and Resources

Policy/Program Questions: Email RHCTestKit.HRSA@hrsa.gov

DPOP Systems Access Issues: Tier 1 Helpdesk
COVID-19 Administration Reporting System (CARS) Help Desk
Email: CARS_HelpDesk@cdc.gov
Phone: 1-833-748-1979
8:00 AM to 8:00 PM ET, Monday-Friday
Note: Do not contact the Tier 1 Helpdesk unless you have confirmed that you are fully enrolled in the program

Product Questions: Quidel 1-800-874-1517 (Option 2, then Option 5)
7:00am to 5:00pm PT, Monday- Friday