KANSAS CITY, Mo.— Could this be the end of free COVID-19 tests mailed to your door? Quite possibly, if a message on the website holds true.
On Monday, the U.S. Postal Service said they plan to suspend the program by Friday, but possibly earlier if they run out of tests.
The federal program is running out of money, according to the message on the website COVID.gov.
“Ordering through this program will be suspended on Friday September 2 because Congress hasn’t provided additional funding to replenish the nation’s stockpile of tests,” the message reads.
It is an interesting situation for hospitals still treating COVID-19 patients, but fewer of them than they were six months ago.
The struggle for hospitals continues to be staffing challenges, which affects capacity and available bed numbers.
“We may have closures based on lack of staff and beds but we literally, hourly, are opening up a bed or two here or there just to try to relieve some of the pressure on the system,” Kim Megow, Chief Medical Officer for HCA Midwest Health said during a conference call hosted by the University of Kansas Health System.
Other facilities — like North Kansas City Hospital — are also stretched thin.
“It’s the same story here — staffing is a challenge and I would agree that the numbers that we’re seeing now are winter numbers. And so if it goes up proportionally like it has in the past then it’s going to be tough this winter,” Dr. James Stewart, Chief Medical Officer of North Kansas City Hospital, said during the same conference call.
COVID-19 tests are still available through local health departments and at pharmacies. If you purchase a COVID-19 test, health insurance providers must reimburse eight tests per month per individual.