FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 20, 2020
Pennsylvanians Can Access Free Coronavirus Testing During COVID-19 Crisis,
Addressing Task Force Findings
don’t have health insurance can be tested for the novel coronavirus free of
charge, addressing a concern identified by the Pennsylvania COVID-19
Response Task Force on Health Disparity chaired by Lt. Gov. John Fetterman.
Governor Tom Wolf
announced Monday that federal stimulus funding will be used to reimburse
providers who test uninsured patients, so those patients can be tested for
Access to testing for
uninsured Pennsylvanians was a top concern identified by the task force
formed by the governor to address inequality, including lesser access to
care among minority groups.
Fetterman applauded the
governor’s announcement, saying it will save lives.
“People who don’t have
insurance could be less likely to be tested because they know they’re going
to face a bill,” Fetterman said. “Nothing should stand in the way of access
to testing for any Pennsylvanian, and this allocation removes any obstacles
for both uninsured patients and healthcare providers.”
The task force is
assigned with identifying obstacles that cause disparity among marginalized
populations and bringing those issues to Wolf’s attention.
Task Force member Steve
McFarland, a Philadelphia native and the Eastern Regional Director for
Fetterman’s office, said slowing the spread of the virus relies on
increased testing in all populations.
“The uninsured working
poor in our underserved communities need to know that they can walk into a
facility and be tested, just the same as someone who has insurance,” he
said. “Health is a public matter, and many of our uninsured residents have
essential, public-facing jobs that they have to report to every day. They
absolutely deserve to have access to the testing that can keep them, their
families, and their communities safe while not
having to make a false choice between their health and a paycheck.”
task force is comprised of members identifying as minorities affected by
health disparity and includes the Department of Health’s Office of Health
Equity and five commissions. They are Latino Affairs, Asian Pacific
American Affairs, Women’s Commission, African American Affairs, and LGBTQ
Affairs. The group is collaborating with community members, stakeholders,
and legislators to send recommendations to Governor Tom Wolf for addressing
issues related to a higher incidence of COVID-19 among minorities.
will represent both short-term and long-term goals related to the disparity
reported during the COVID-19 pandemic in our vulnerable communities.
addition to increased testing in minority communities, the task force is
emphasizing the need for data collection. Statewide health systems must
follow the mandate from Secretary Levine (and later reinforced by Governor
Wolf, to report racial demographics for all tests and COVID-related deaths.
Department of Health’s testing-site locator map can be found here.
those who do test positive, Pennsylvania’s Federally Qualified Health
Centers are providing care for free and/or on a sliding-scale. To find a
Pennsylvania Community Health Center, click here.
CONTACT: Christina Kauffman, Lt. Governor’s