Health

Kentucky will pay Covington-based private lab Gravity Diagnostics to test for the coronavirus at a rate of $51 per test, according to the Master Agreement between the state and company.

That’s the same rate that labs can bill Medicare for coronavirus tests.

The initial term of the contract runs April 7 through April 31. Gravity Diagnostics has agreed to test 50,000 samples during that time period. That amounts to 2,000 samples a day, 6 days a week and a total cost of $2.55 million.

After that period, the contract can be renewed on a month to month basis.

The contract notes that general funds will not be used to pay for the testing. It is unclear at this point where the money is coming from.

The contract notes that Kentucky will pay Gravity Diagnostics for 50,000 tests “regardless if test volume is actually received or not.” In a press conference announcing the partnership on Sunday, Gov. Andy Beshear said that the actual number of tests conducted by the company will depend on the state’s ability to obtain medical swabs that are in “critical demand” right now.

“Swabs are in critical demand and we are looking at options on the manufacturing side and any way that we can get them,” Beshear said. “If we can get the swabs we need, we can make sure there isn’t any area of the state that doesn’t have — at least compared to the rest of the country — a pretty significant ability to test.” 

Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, Gravity Diagnostics was conducting pharmacogenomics and toxicology testing, “the former of which looks at an individual’s DNA to gauge their response to certain medications, while the latter is used to reduce drug abuse and addiction,” according to a recent article on Forbes.com.

The phone number on Gravity Diagnostic’s website results in a recorded message directing callers interested in COVID-19 testing to getmydna.com/covid-19/. GetMyDNA provides customers with DNA testing kits by mail.

See the contract here.