Article of the day
October 19, 2020




Michael Kalinowski

Labs Will Soon Be Required to Provide COVID-19 Test Results Within Two Days For Full CMS Reimbursement

July 26, 2021
October 2020

From January 1, 2021, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will penalize U.S. laboratories failing to process coronavirus diagnostic tests within two calendar days of collection by decreasing their reimbursement payments to $75 per test. However, labs that consistently comply with this guideline will be rewarded by Medicare with a $25 add-on payment. These changes create major incentives for laboratories to consistently process samples quickly which usually requires a robust laboratory information system (LIS). LigoLab’s integrated Laboratory Information System (LIS) provides a robust and secure platform to support labs in their operations. The TestDirectly Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) Portal is a web-based, scalable, agnostic add-on to LigoLab’s LIS, or any other LIS. TestDirectly can be deployed in a matter of days, and, once optimized, can improve average turnaround times to under 30 hours from sample collection through a variety of means, including: having patients self-register online; replacing paper requisitions and manual labor with a streamlined electronic workflow; enabling tracking of all specimens; and automated reporting of results to patients and their followup.

Soon, U.S. laboratories that fail to process coronavirus diagnostic tests within two calendar days of collection will be penalized with smaller reimbursement payments from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

CMS on Thursday announced that starting on January 1, 2021, the base payment rate for COVID-19 diagnostic tests will drop to $75 per test, and Medicare will make an additional $25 add-on payment to laboratories if they complete the tests in two calendar days or less, and if they complete the majority of their COVID-19 tests in two calendar days or less for all patients (not just their Medicare patients) in the previous month.

“Today’s announcement supports faster high throughput testing, which will allow patients and physicians to act quickly and decisively with respect to treatment decisions, physical isolation, and contact tracing,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma.

Click Here for Thursday’s announcement.

For laboratories already struggling to meet this two-day turnaround time, the CMS announcement serves as a wake-up call and will likely lead to the reexamination of their laboratory workflows and software solutions.

Fortunately for them, the TestDirectly Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) Portal is a streamlined solution that drives faster turnaround times and with it, these struggling labs will have the tool needed to ensure the full CMS reimbursement of $100 per case going forward.

The TestDirectly Portal is the latest addition to the fully integrated LigoLab LIS & RCM Operating Platform. It’s a web-based and scalable solution that interfaces with any laboratory information system (LIS) and any instrumentation for COVID-19 testing.

With TestDirectly, the average turnaround time for labs using the platform is 30 hours from collection. Even better, portal implementation typically takes just one-to-two weeks, giving labs in need of more efficient operations plenty of time to upgrade their system before the CMS payments are adjusted.

Once in place, the portal works seamlessly with the LIS to replace paper requisitions and manual labor with a streamlined electronic workflow that starts with patient self-registration. This benefits both collection organizations and laboratories because it removes the manual order entry and follow-up bottlenecks, enables the tracking of all specimens with barcodes, boosts testing capacity, and improves turnaround times.

Accessioning starts when the patient creates an account with an email address at From there, he or she can find a nearby collection site, schedule an appointment, input all demographics (including billing details that can be verified and/or charged in real-time), answer the required order entry questions, agree to terms, and place the order.

By deploying TestDirectly, laboratories can easily connect with patients, physicians, employers, school and university systems, industries, and governmental agencies to deliver the fast and accurate results that patients need for peace-of-mind while also helping their bottom line.

To learn more about the TestDirectly platform, check out the links below, call 310-227-7503, or email Michael at

More TestDirectly Resources

The TestDirectly platform - How it works from the patient’s perspective

How TestDirectly Helped DuPage County and Reditus Laboratories Create a More Efficient Drive-Through With Faster Test Results

TestDirectly Eliminates the Paper Requisitions That Cause Accessioning Headaches

How Our Lab Partner Embraced Innovation and Won a Statewide Testing Contract

Why Choose LigoLab?

In addition to the TestDirectly D2C Portal, LigoLab’s all-in-one platform also includes customizable modules for Anatomic Pathology (AP), Clinical Pathology (CP), Molecular Diagnostics (MDx), and RCM/Billing, plus supporting modules and supporting engines that connect, merge, and integrate all laboratory operations and financial processes on one common database and operating system. This means no more silos, no more middleware, and no more inconsistent data.


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