Greater control for test centres

COVID-19 Testing Ordinance Greater control for test centres

The Federal Government continues to cover the costs to enable citizens to take at least one free rapid antigen test for detection of the coronavirus per week. What is new is that test centres will be monitored more closely.

Citizens waiting outside a COVID-19 test centre.

The amended Testing Ordinance allows for greater control of testing and billing.

Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild/Sebastian Kahnert

Since 8 March 2021, all citizens have been able to take free tests on a regular basis. More than 15,000 test centres have since been set up for this purpose. This testing infrastructure is essential to facilitate the recent easing of restrictions, where citizens must present a negative test result in certain situations.

Testing can be used to provide greater safety when restrictions are eased. Regular tests allow for infected individuals who have no symptoms to be detected, and for infection chains to be broken as a result. The tests are an important tool to fight the pandemic, especially when people are gathering indoors.

Closer monitoring of billing

The COVID-19 Testing Ordinance has now been adjusted. One of the reasons for this step were the recently discovered cases of fraud committed by individual testing providers. It is important to understand that these are isolated cases, as the vast majority of testing providers are working at high quality standards and are billing their services accurately.

The existing rules are refined in the amended Testing Ordinance to make it easier to check, whether tests have been appropriately performed and invoiced. The Associations of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians that are in charge of reviewing the invoices are granted access to advanced review methods. Cooperation between the Public Health Service and the Associations of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians is being expanded for this purpose.

Test centres are only approved following an individual review

In future, test centres will only be approved following an individual review carried out by the Public Health Service. Specific criteria have been drawn up for these reviews. Remuneration is standardised, simplified and reduced. Costs for materials will be covered with a lump sum based on current market prices.

The amended ordinance also provides that in addition to rapid antigen tests, supervised self-tests can also be carried out in test centres or doctor’s offices. A certificate of the test result will be issued accordingly.

The amended ordinance will come into force on 1 July 2021.