(Ithaca, N.Y., April 28, 2023) – Cayuga Health (CH) Sampling Site at the Shops at Ithaca Mall (40 Catherwood Rd) will close on Friday, May 5, 2023, following a multi-month review of notable decline of its use. Cayuga Health will offer testing to the public at physician offices, including walk-in visits at Immediate Care (8 Brentwood Drive, Ithaca), and at other healthcare providers in the community.
The County-funded COVID-19 testing program for local residents ended in January 2023 after nearly three years of covering the cost of tests not submitted to insurance. Cayuga Health covered costs from January 2023 – May 2023. This support allowed the Tompkins County community to access testing without barriers or concern about payment.
Federal Emergency Declaration funding is set to expire May 11, 2023, ending the availability of federal funds for free testing services or supplies, and vaccines available free of cost. This change will primarily be reflected in changes to what your health insurance covers, such as co-pays. It is best to speak with your insurance provider to find out what the cost of a receiving a PCR test would be, or the cost of the vaccine, as different insurances offer different options.
Residents seeking a test through Cayuga Health and other local healthcare providers must meet criteria as medically necessary for health insurance coverage or pay out of pocket for the service. Medically necessary testing includes having symptoms related to COVID-19, exposure to someone with COVID-19, or having an upcoming medical procedure. Learn more about health insurance coverage related to COVID-19 online. If you would like to learn more about health insurance options, dial 211 to speak with a Health Insurance Navigator or make an appointment online.
The Tompkins County Legislature announced expanded community-wide COVID-19 testing in partnership with Cayuga Health in September 2020. County contingent funds were used to support the ongoing testing efforts throughout the pandemic, much of which is expected to be reimbursed to the County by FEMA due to the COVID-19 disaster declaration.
Self-testing continues to be a reliable method for determining health status; test-kits are available to the community, free of charge, at local libraries and municipal offices. Please contact your local library or municipal offices before arriving to check availability.
Frank Kruppa, Tompkins County Whole Health Commissioner stated, “I want to thank Cayuga Health for setting up and managing the mass sampling site since early in the pandemic. This has been a great service to our community and contributed to our monitoring of disease in the community. Thank you to the Tompkins County Legislature who made an important decision to cover the cost of testing for County residents to promote equity and access throughout the pandemic. The partnership between the health system and County serves as a model, and we look forward to collaborating in the future.”
Kruppa continued, “Although this service is coming to an end, I want to remind the community that it is still important to get tested and take precautions when sick. Lab-testing remains an option in our community and self-test kits are readily available.”
Dr. Stallone stated, “Cayuga Health has provided more than 300,000 tests through our mall testing site. I am proud of our team that pivoted quickly to meet this need and remained steadfast as the situation evolved often and quickly. It was an honor to provide this vital service to our community during a time of great uncertainty. Cayuga Health appreciates the trust the Health Department and Legislature placed in us.”
Chairwoman of the Tompkins County Legislature Shawna Black stated, “This is one of the best investments Tompkins County made during the pandemic. I’m so proud that our Legislature stepped up to approve this funding and has been responsive to the community’s needs throughout this crisis. Thanks are especially due to Cayuga Health, who were leaders and innovators throughout the pandemic – especially when it came to disease monitoring and testing.”
Media contact: Shannon Alvord, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cayuga Health System (CHS) has two hospitals, Cayuga Medical Center, and Schuyler Hospital, as well as a multi-specialty group, Cayuga Medical Associates, and a network of over 400 providers with Cayuga Health Partners. Combined employment, including affiliated organizations, is over 2,500 employees serving multiple counties throughout Central New York and the Finger Lakes Region. Cayuga Heath offers care in many different medical and surgical specialties. The diversity of practitioners within CHS provides patients with prompt specialist referrals and facilitates communication among their caregivers. CHS has the additional advantage of swift referrals to world-class tertiary care centers when patients must travel out of town. Visit www.cayugahealth.org for more information.