The Coalition of Asian-American (CAIPA), which represents more than 1,000 New York physicians and allied healthcare professionals, today announced the launch of its mobile testing van initiative to conduct COVID-19 screenings across the city.
The initiative, which will include at least four mobile vans donated by Empire BlueCross BlueShield and Fidelis Care, will provide early interventions to reduce hospitalizations around the city. At the same time, the program seeks to identify patients at high risk and, through collaboration with CAIPA hospital partners, distribute them to the facilities that can deliver the appropriate level of care.
"During these difficult times, we understand the dire need for testing and CAIPA is dedicated to helping those in the community conveniently access these tests," said Dr. George C. K. Liu, MD, PhD, President & CEO, CAIPA. "Our mobile testing units are traveling to locations around the city to maximize our ability to best serve communities throughout the city, in addition to our stationary testing centers."
As part of this initiative, primary care physicians (PCPs) identify patients that should be screened according to guidelines from the NYS Health Department and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The PCPs fill out laboratory requisitions for COVID-19 testing and fax the forms to CAIPA's COVID-19 Command Center. The Command Center schedules the testing and sends specimens to laboratories for results. The results then are sent to the originating PCPs, who will inform the patients and appropriate authorities about cases of infection.
The program could be a model for screening services in densely populated urban communities nationally, Dr. Liu said. Mobile testing units are especially appropriate in neighborhoods where residents often do not have cars. The mobile testing vans can bring screening personal to the neighborhoods and homes of people who might not otherwise have access to testing, such as home-bound, frail and elderly New Yorkers. They also reduce the risk of these people using public transportation or commercial private vehicles to reach stationary testing sites that are not in their immediate neighborhoods.
In recent weeks, CAIPA has addressed the surge of COVID-19 cases in New York City by supporting local hospitals, providers and allied healthcare professionals on the front lines of the pandemic. The task force has donated supplies to providers, hospitals and other healthcare facilities, including gloves, goggles, hand sanitizers, isolation protective gowns, masks with shields, N95 masks, shoe covers and surgical masks.