In accordance with the order of the President of the National Health Fund (NFZ), the valuation of molecular tests for coronavirus was reduced to PLN 280. The order came into force on the day of its announcement, i.e. 21 April.
This is not the first change in test conditions and pricing
The billing product “SARS-CoV-2 virus test” was introduced into the catalogue of benefits financed by the NFZ by the order of 18 March 2020. At that time, its valuation was PLN 450, with the reservation that the test may be accounted for only if the therapeutic entity bears the cost of performing the PCR test during the patient’s stay or hospitalisation.
By order of 31 March, the valuation of coronavirus tests appeared in two variants – PLN 400 in the base version or PLN 200 without test cost. Apart from the patient’s hospitalisation, the conditions for settling the test were accompanied by the stay in the isolation room. Another ordinance, dated 4 April, specified that the valuation of PLN 200 does not include the cost of reagents. Also, the provisions concerning the performance of the test only in the case of a stay in hospital/insulation centre were removed, which opened the way to wider testing also by external entities.
This was finally clarified by an order in mid-April where it was made clear that the performance of the test can be accounted for by an entity with its own laboratory or on a subcontracting basis. At the same time, the NFZ pointed out that it is not acceptable for the contracting and performing entity to settle the costs of performing the same test or to settle the cost of performing the test financed from other funds.
PLN 280 for the coronavirus test
And so we come to the order of 21 April, under which a significant reduction in the valuation of coronavirus tests was made, under previously agreed conditions. Currently the NFZ pays PLN 280 for the test and PLN 140 without the cost of reagents. This still applies to the RT-PCR molecular tests. The justification for the change of valuation, included in the order, is quite enigmatic. According to the NFZ, the necessity to modify the order results from adjusting the value to the costs of financing the tests in accordance with the ordinance issued by the Minister of Health concerning the conclusion of contracts for performing diagnostic tests for coronavirus. Does this mean that the increase in the number of tests performed daily has led to a reduction in their valuation?
What do the laboratories say? PMR talked to the coronavirus testers before the price was reduced. Already then managers of many of them stressed that it was at least a dozen percent low. For example, according to one of the laboratories, the cost of purchasing reagents for a single test may be between PLN 100 and 300, depending on the supplier. To this should be added not only the fixed costs of laboratory work (such as electricity), but also the costs of disinfectants and personal protective equipment for employees.
Currently, 87 laboratories (including one suspended entity) are on the list of laboratories performing tests on COVID-19, published by the Ministry of Health. The largest number of laboratories is in the Mazowieckie voivodeship – 16. In the Lubuskie, Podlaskie. Podkarpackie, Opolskie, Swietokrzyskie and Warminsko-Mazurskie voivodeships these are two entities each. So far, nearly 240,000 samples have been tested in Poland.