Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming (BCBSWY) would like to recognize you and your colleagues for your efforts in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. As we know, it is an unprecedented global and national public health crisis that has strained health systems around the world and here in Wyoming. It has caused extraordinary economic upheaval.
Your efforts to ramp up testing, conserve PPE, adopt telemedicine, and support your communities to help minimize the spread of this disease have not gone unnoticed. We truly appreciate your efforts and want to thank you for what you have done, and what we know you will continue to do during this crisis.
We understand that testing is one of the most valuable tools available to providers to help control this disease. As we work to restore economic activity in Wyoming, it is important to understand the types of testing available and what seems to be the most appropriate use.
- PCR molecular testing has high specificity and sensitivity as the standard for diagnostic detection of COVID-19. Cost share is completely covered.
- Antigen testing identifies viral nucleocapsid protein that has a recent CLIA certificate of waiver for point of care diagnostic screening. Lower sensitivity results may require a reflex to PCR testing.
- Antibody serology testing for antibody detection is best applied to public health surveillance for understanding community prevalence. Limitations of antibody testing include unproven efficacy for immunity determination. Over 100 serology tests have been marketed, however only 8 have met FDA approval by the emergency use authorization (EUA) requirements for data submission. Antibody testing is not an independent diagnostic test as it takes 1-2 weeks after the onset of illness to generate initial IgM followed later with IgG results. Antibody testing for diagnostic purposes is limited. Benefits do not apply to surveillance, return to work or asymptomatic screening.
- Respiratory Panels include 22 pathogens and many include COVID-19. The decision to perform a respiratory panel should be individualized and not routinely utilized.
We know the science and policy of this novel disease is continually changing. We will do our best to keep you informed of changes from our side that may affect you. We are committed to doing our share to ensure the health and well-being of our members, and we look forward to helping you do the same.
Again, we thank you for your dedication to the care our members and to all residents of Wyoming.
Joseph Horam, M.D.