TOPEKA (KSNT) – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment announced Friday it will be making changes to its COVID-19 testing strategy by pushing the costs of testing onto employers, health insurers and individuals.
This news comes after KDHE updated its Employer Testing Handbook which will help ensure that testing remains available to Kansans as funds for free testing begin to dry up.
According to KDHE, the COVID-19 virus is expected to circulate much as the flu has in the past. Testing remains an important tool in identifying the virus and protecting Kansas communities even with increasing vaccination rates.
“Testing has become an increasingly important way in which those who choose to be unvaccinated may still be able to work, attend events, and travel,” said Ashley Goss, Acting Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. “This is especially critical as more businesses and employers have begun requiring either proof of vaccination or demonstration of a negative COVID-19 test with greater frequency.”
KDHE has reported the surge in infections due to the Delta variant has significantly impacted the funds made available through a federal grant allocated to Kansas of $141 million. Part of the new testing strategy being unveiled by the KDHE is intended to reduce the costs of testing to the state and ensure that Kansans still have uninterrupted access to testing for COVID-19.
Part of these new changes means that employers, health insurers and individuals are going to be asked to pay for COVID-19 testing with greater frequency going forward. This new shared responsibility of both the private and public sectors will help alleviate the financial pressures placed on the state.
Free testing sites are still available across Kansas for those who are experiencing symptoms or have potentially been exposed to COVID-19. These sites will remain free depending on need as well as available state and federal funding.