Montana to end free COVID-19 testing; nursing homes fear financial burden

EMILY SCHABACKER

The state health department announced in a memo this week that free COVID-19 testing services will no longer be available to most organizations after Dec. 11, 2022.

“The federal funding to support these testing activities is ending and near exhaustion,” read the memo.

Throughout the pandemic, the Department of Health and Human Services has provided rapid antigen test kits and PCR testing services free through the State Health Laboratory and MAKO for a number of sectors, including long-term care facilities and public schools.

Testing support in public schools, early childcare facilities and local and Tribal public health will continue through June 30, 2023, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funding runs out.

State facilities will continue to have access to free rapid antigen test kits through DPHHS until the federal funding runs out. This includes the Montana State Hospital, the Veteran’s Homes in Columbia Falls, Glendive and Butte, the Montana Mental Health Nursing Care Center, the Intensive Behavior Center and the Montana Chemical Dependency Center.

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