State Details Updated COVID-19 Testing Criteria, Activities

This week, the Newsom Administration announced a handful of COVID-19 testing-related activities, including updated COVID-19 testing guidance, new requirements for health plans to cover testing, and new California COVID-19 Testing Task Force leaders. Below, each of the actions is detailed:

Testing Guidance

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued updated testing guidance that focuses on testing hospitalized individuals who have COVID-19 symptoms and individuals without symptoms who are in high-risk categories. According to the state, the new guidance will ensure that Californians who most need COVID-19 tests will receive them amid testing supply procurement challenges. The new guidance is available here.

DMHC Emergency Regulations

The Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) this week issued emergency regulations deeming COVID-19 testing a medically necessary basic health care service for essential health workers and people with symptoms of or possible exposure to COVID-19, thereby requiring health plans to provide coverage for testing. The emergency regulations and supplemental materials from DMHC are available here.

Testing Task Force Leaders Announced

California Health and Human Services (CHHS) Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly this week also announced new co-chairs of the California COVID-19 Testing Task Force, the state’s public-private partnership tasked with expanding the collection and processing of specimens for COVID-19 testing. Dr. Gil Chavez, founding chief of the CDPH Center for Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Bechara Choucair, senior vice president and chief health officer for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. were announced as the new co-chairs of the task force.

The full announcement from CHHS is available here.