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November 13, 2020


 
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SPECIAL EDITION ISSUE

MMA Partnering With State to Distribute BinaxNOW Ag Tests

The Maine Medical Association is partnering with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services on plans to distribute the federally supplied Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen Cards to Maine’s independent physician practices to support rapid testing of symptomatic individuals. Maine has now received a supply of the Abbott Rapid Ag (antigen) test cards from the Federal government, which have been authorized by the FDA for testing symptomatic individuals for COVID-19 within the first 7 days of symptoms.  Additionally, the Ag Card can also be used in limited circumstances to serially test critical infrastructure staff who are identified to be a close contact of an individual confirmed to have COVID-19.  The test is authorized for use at the Point of Care in settings operating under a CLIA Certificate of Waiver, Certificate of Compliance, or Certificate of Accreditation. Additional requirements to meet in order to receive and use Ag Cards from Maine DHHS are listed at the end of this message. 

Maine DHHS recognized early on the logistical challenges of distributing the test kits to potentially hundreds or even thousands of interested clinical and community sites. Therefore, they reached out to a number of organizations to ask whether they might be willing to serve as a partner with DHHS. The MMA quickly agreed to receive, distribute, or arrange distribution of the BinaxNOW test cards to our independent practice members throughout around the state. 

The DHHS plan allows all interested and qualified organizations to apply for the Ag Cards, with an allocation process that aims to ensure both access for all people in Maine and a priority for those at greater risk of COVID-19. 

Additional requirements to receive Ag cards from Maine DHHS:

  • Organization that are not currently receiving BinaxNOW Ag test cards directly from the Federal government
  • Must have valid/current CLIA certificate or Certificate of Waiver (contact Dan Morin at MMA for CLIA waiver application)
  • Must use the BinaxNOW Ag card test in accordance with Maine DHHS Guidance
  • Must complete a brief online instructional training on appropriate use of the BinaxNOW Ag Cards as posted on Abbott BinaxNOW Online Training.
  • Must report any positive test results to Maine CDC as required by Maine CDC Notifiable Conditions reporting and agree to report all test results to Maine CDC once such a reporting system is finalized
  • Must be prepared to direct individuals to a testing site and/or identify a health care provider to order a confirmatory PCR test when needed

 

To apply, please use the following link:

Maine DHHS Application for BinaxNOW Ag Test Cards

Important Note: Please choose “Independent physician practice” under the ‘Respondent Organization Type’ drop-down.

Maine DHHS Guidance on Use of BinaxNow COVID-19 Ag Card Testing

For more information, along w/ additional resources and a recording of Maine DHHS’s informational session to provide more information on appropriate use and requirements for using BinaxNOW Ag tests is posted to the “Health Care Provider” page of the ME CDC COVID website:

https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/infectious-disease/epi/airborne/coronavirus/providers.shtml

Do not hesitate to email or call/text Director of Communications and Government Affairs, Dan Morin at (207) 838-8613 for more information or background.

Abbott BinaxNOW Ag Test Cards

Please note, some Maine providers, but NOT independent physician practices will be getting Ag Cards from the Federal government will not get them from the state.

Maine will distribute:

  • The Federal government is distributing two-thirds of its 150 million to states and one-third directly to health care providers, such as assisted living facilities and nursing facilities.
  • Three-fourths of its amount to one distributor who has sites across Maine, which will be drive-through and accessible to the public;
  • One-fourth to organizations that meet basic requirements and can help target high-risk populations, high-risk settings, and places with difficultly accessing testing.
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