About Molecular (PCR) Testing
Molecular Testing is considered the gold standard for detecting active Covid-19 infections. PCR stands for polymerase chain reaction, and is the type of test done in molecular testing. We test for specific genes present on the Covid-19 virus to get very accurate and specific results.
Turn-around time at our clinic is usually 1 business day. In some circumstances it may take longer, however the vast majority of patients can get their results by the next day.
Where is Testing Performed?
All our testing is performed on site, in our CLIA and COLA certified Laboratory. Doing tests on-site helps eliminate lost or contaminated samples, which can happen during transit to outside facilities.
We are committed to providing the fastest test results available in our community.
What you can Expect
We offer drive-up testing. Just drive in, call us to let us know you're here, and we'll come out to collect the sample. You can then leave, and you will usually get your results the next business day.
About Rapid Antigen Testing
Antigen testing is a rapid test. At our facility it usually takes about 20-30 minutes from start to finish. We use the Sofia 2 SARS Antigen FIA Test.
Current guidelines from the CDC, Medicare, New Mexico Medicaid, and others suggest that Antigen testing be performed on patients who are symtomatic.
As part of our efforts to follow current evidence based guidelines and to provide the best service to our patients, we require a visit with the provider along with the Antigen Test, either in-office or via Telemedicine.
Generally, we recommend patients get the PCR test, however, there are circumstances where the antigen test may be a better fit.
Turn Around Time
It generally only takes around 20-30 minutes to complete Antigen testing for Covid-19. Once the testing is complete, our provider will have either a Telemedicine or in-office visit to go over your symptoms, test result, and further testing that may be required.
Insurance Coverage and Cost
Not all insurances cover Rapid Antigen Tests for Covid-19. Some insurances restrict Antigen Testing to people with certain circumstances, symptoms, or conditions. In particular, Presbyterian, Western Sky, and Blue Cross Blue Shield are refusing to provide coverage for Antigen Testing.
We hope that coverage will expand for antigen testing soon. You may want to call or petition your insurance company, congress representative, or insurance commission to get better coverage for Antigen Testing.
As an unfortunate result, if your insurance refuses to provide coverage, the patient is responsible for the cost of Antigen Testing. In those circumstances, we recommend you have PCR testing done instead. We're happy to do PCR testing for you. Most insurances fully cover PCR testing.
What you can expect
You will need to make an appointment for the test, and to see the provider, prior to coming in.
Just like the PCR testing process, you will drive in to the testing site and call our clinic while waiting in your car to start the intake process. We will come to your car to collect the sample, and then we will perform the test.
Once we have the test results, you will either come into the clinic to be evaluated by our provider, or you will have a telemedicine visit to be evaluated and get your test results.
About rapid antibody testing
Rapid antibody testing uses a kit with a testing cartridge. A small amount of sample (serum, whole blood, or capillary blood) is placed in the cartridge well, and if antibodies (IgG or IgM) are present a colored line will form. This test does not tell you the quantity of antibodies. From this test you cannot tell if there is a large amount of antibodies indicating a strong immune response and possible immunity, or a neglible amount of antibodies that would probably not confer immunity.
Rapid Antibody Testing will NOT tell you if you currently have an active COvid-19 infection.
Should you get Rapid Antibody Testing?
In general, we do not recommend Rapid Antibody Testing for most people at this time. Most insurances will not cover the cost of this test. New Mexico Medicaid put out a statment saying that there is no clinical value in performing this test and as such they would not be covering the cost of this type of test.
Some clinics are offering this test, generally just saying that they have a Covid-19 test, and not giving all the other relevant information. We want you to know that this test will NOT tell you if you currently have an active Covid-19 infection, and your insurance may refuse to cover it, leaving the cost to you.
Insurance Coverage and Cost
Most insurances will not cover Rapid Antibody Testing. You may have to pay for the cost of this test yourself.
About Quantitative (High Precision) Antibody Testing
Quantitative Antibody testing uses Immunoassay Laboratory Machines to detect if IgG and IgM antibodies are present, and if so how many are present in your blood.
Because, with this test, you get the levels or amount of antibodies that are present, your provider gets actionable information about your disease progression/response, and information about possible immunity.
This test is not the same as the Covid-19 Rapid Antibody Test. While many insurances don't cover the Rapid Anitbody Test, there generally aren't coverage problems with the Covid-19 Quantitative Antibody Test.
Should I be Tested for Quantitative Antibodies?
The most common reason for getting Covid-19 Quantitative Anitbody Testing is to assess immune response to an ongoing or prior infection. If you currently have, or have had a Covid-19 infection, you may need Quantitative Antibody Testing to assess the extent of your immune response to the disease. This can tell us how likely you are to get reinfected in the future
Another reason you may get a Quantitative Antibody Test is vaccine related. Your provider may assess your antibody levels before giving the vaccine. If you have high antibody levels, the dose may be better off going to someone without any antibodies, as you may already have some immunity.
Or, your provider may order a Quantitative Antibody Test after you receive the vaccine to make sure that you had a great enough immune response to give you immunity.
What can you expect?
For a Quantitative Antibody Test, you must come into the office to have your blood drawn. Right now, you should make an appointment before you come in to have this test done. Test results are generally available within 1 week of blood collection.