Testing Update

Dear Residents, Teammates and Family Members,

As of August 26, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Health and Human Services (HHS) now requires that skilled nursing facilities base their COVID-19 testing protocols on community infection rates. Based on the positivity rate of 10.5% in Dallas, Presbyterian Village North (PVN) must test all skilled nursing employees on a twice weekly basis. Should an employee test positive the organization is then required to test all residents in skilled nursing. Please note these requirements do not affect independent living or assisted living as the mandates address skilled nursing exclusively.

In an effort to aide skilled nursing providers with testing, the government provided PVN with a BD Veritor Plus testing machine along with a small amount of testing supplies. The BD machine is an antigen testing device. Antigen tests are designed to detect the presence of a specific viral antigen, which implies a current viral infection.

PVN completed the first round of COVID-19 testing using the new BD Veritor machine. As a result of this testing two teammates and eight residents tested positive for COVID-19. All of these individuals appeared to have no symptoms or common indicators for the virus. The families, teammates and residents who were affected by these results have all been contacted directly.

The number of individuals testing positive during this round of testing is concerning and may indicate a potential problem with the new testing equipment. In light of this, we performed an internal quality assurance and accuracy check on the BD machine. The results of this exercise have caused further concern regarding the reliability of its results.

Based on this situation, we conducted a second round of molecular testing for those who received a positive result. The molecular testing is provided by an outside lab and utilizes different equipment than what was provided by the government. Turnaround time from the outside labs is expected to be three to five days. We expect further delays due to the holiday weekend. That being said, we are doing our very best to expedite this process.

Should the lab tests differ from the BD test results we still must follow the regulations provided by CMS and HHS. These regulations require that we isolate those presumed infected with virus for a period of ten days and should they continue not to not have symptoms, retest them. The regulations do not provide for a scenario where the test results may be invalid and instead focus on the most conservative approach to limiting the spread of the virus.

We are fortunate to have a dedicated COVID-19 unit in a separate building to care for those presumed to have the virus in a safe and secure manner. Teammates working on this unit are highly trained and have achieved excellent results over the last four months in providing care in a safe and secure manner. To date, there have been no issues with continued spread of the virus between residents nor teammates on this unit.

Along with you, we are deeply concerned about this situation, especially since this is the first time this machine has been used. We also understand the angst associated with waiting for the second round of test results.

Despite this situation we remain committed to utilizing testing as a tool to help limit the spread of the virus. In the meantime, those impacted will be contacted immediately upon receipt of the results. In the interim please feel free to reach out with questions at pvninfo@forefrontliving.org or 214-355-9019 for additional information.


Bryan Cooper

Executive Director