COVID-19 At-Home Self-Swab Specimen Collection

August 10, 2020

Health Center Program funding may be used to support a wide-range of COVID-19 testing and testing-related in-scope activities that may change as COVID-19 needs and guidance evolve within your community. This includes using these funds to support COVID-19 prevention and response by making available COVID-19 self-swab specimen collection kits to health center patients consistent with FDA’s clearance, approval, or authorization of such kits. 

Prescribing and providing access to at-home COVID-19 self-swab specimen collection kits to established health center patients is an available component of a health center’s general primary care for its patients when used consistent with FDA clearance, approval, or authorization. HRSA recommends that health centers follow CDC guidelines on COVID-19 testing and ensure compliance with all applicable FDA guidance for such testing.

Health centers that choose to make available COVID-19 at-home self-swab specimen collection kits should:

  • Ensure that they do so in compliance with the currently applicable FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the specific test used.
  • Follow the specific uses authorized within the applicable EUA, including any noted need for provider supervision of the specimen collection and any applicable limitations on use of the test. The FDA FAQ on Testing for SARS-CoV-2 provides more information on COVID-19 tests that are authorized for use with home specimen collection kits.
  • Ensure appropriate follow-up, including on positive COVID-19 test results. Such follow-up may include, but is not limited to:
    • Guidance on self-monitoring for worsening symptoms.
    • Steps for isolation to reduce risk of transmission.
    • Making medically indicated referrals of patients.
    • Providing connections to community-based support resources.

In providing care to patients with COVID-19, health centers should obtain information about the contacts of infected patients consistent with public health guidance, including guidance provided by the CDC. Health centers must report information on COVID-19 infections to federal, state, and local public health agencies consistent with applicable law (including laws relating to communicable disease reporting and privacy). In addition, in coordination with federal, state and local public health activities, health centers may notify identified contacts of infected health center patients of their exposure to COVID-19, consistent with applicable law (including laws relating to communicable disease reporting and privacy).

Frequently Asked Questions
We continually update our COVID-19 FAQ webpage and recently added this question:Can a recently designated Health Center Program look-alike apply for LAL ECT funding?

See our page for coronavirus-related funding FAQs and our COVID-19 Information for Health Centers and Partners webpage for other questions and resources.

Visit our Technical Assistance Calendar for upcoming sessions related to COVID-19 and other important topics.

If you have questions about the Health Center Program and COVID-19, please contact Health Center Program Support online. Select “Coronavirus Inquiries (COVID-19)” as the issue type—the third option on the “Health Center or EHBs Question” screen.