Specimen Acceptance Criteria for Nursing Homes and ICFs/IID Testing

DHS Logo Original 07/11/2018

Division of Quality Assurance: Notifications & Updates

Attn: All Wisconsin Nursing Homes and Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities

Specimen Acceptance Criteria for Nursing Homes and ICFs/IID Testing

Testing is a key strategy for identifying individuals who have COVID-19 and in limiting the spread to others, which is particularly important for the individuals who live in these settings. To date, approximately 91% of nursing home and ICF/IID providers are testing or have tested their residents and staff. Providers are encouraged to send the specimens back to the lab on a daily basis as testing is conducted; this will ensure the integrity of the specimens and assist in timely processing.

Please follow these best practices for specimen acceptance criteria to help ensure that every specimen gets tested:

Specimen Identification

  • Label every specimen you collect clearly and legibly with the resident information
  • Ensure the label on the tube matches the information on the Test Requisition Form
  • Under “Healthcare Organization Name” enter the account name for your site; if you do not know the account name, reach out to your Exact Sciences account manager or call 844-570-9730 for more information
  • Please identify whether the specimen is for a staff member or resident

Specimen Collection

  • Refrigerate specimens as soon as possible after collection
  • Send specimens the same day you perform collection; you may wish to make arrangements with the courier in advance to ensure same day transport
  • If you need to collect over multiple days, please send specimens at the end of each day you’re collecting
  • Ensure specimens are in an appropriate container; loose specimens in bags are more susceptible to damage, and may break and leak more easily

Specimen Transport

  • Pack specimens securely
  • Pack specimens to avoid excessive movement; avoid open space within containers
  • Make sure caps are secure before transport
  • Ensure specimens are packed with ice or cold packs during transportation; specimens that arrive at room temperature must be rejected

Additional resources will be developed and posted under “Testing Criteria” on the COVID-19: Long-Term Care Facilities and Services webpage

If you have questions about the testing process or suggestions for other publications that would be helpful, please email WI COVID-19 SNF Testing.