Frequently Asked Questions

What are your hours?

Monday through Friday, 9am-4pm at the Faith Community Church, 115 S. Morrissey Ave., Santa Cruz

(Except every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month we are 1pm-4pm).   No appointment is necessary.

 

So, I'm going to Hawaii...

We've tried hard to partner with Hawaii for testing, but unfortunately they are no longer even considering any applications for their Trusted Travel Partner program.  Our best recommendation is to visit their Safe Travels website for a list of the Trusted Travel Partners. Click here to see Hawaii's trusted providers

Do you do a PCR test?

This question is challenging because it's the wrong question.  Testing is rapidly evolving and this question is missing huge parts of innovation in this area of testing.  It's like trying to identify if you have a plane by asking if it has propellers, you would be missing all the jet planes. The family of tests that PCR belongs to is called NAAT.  Here is a definition that the CDC put out, I think it's helpful in explaining a bit more:

A Nucleic Acid Amplification Test, or NAAT, is a type of viral diagnostic test for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. NAATs detect genetic material (nucleic acids). NAATs for SARS-CoV-2 specifically identify the RNA (ribonucleic acid) sequences that comprise the genetic material of the virus.

The NAAT test procedure works by first amplifying – or making many copies of – the virus’s genetic material that is present in a person’s specimen. Amplifying or increasing the copies of nucleic acids enables NAATs to detect very small amounts of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in a specimen, making these tests highly sensitive for diagnosing COVID-19. In other words, NAATs can reliably detect small amounts of SARS-CoV-2 and are unlikely to return a false-negative result of SARS-CoV-2.

NAATs can use many different methods to amplify nucleic acids and detect the virus, including but not limited to:

  • Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)

  • Transcription mediated amplification (TMA)

  • Loop mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) tests including:

  • Nicking endonuclease amplification reaction (NEAR)

  • Helicase-dependent amplification (HDA)

  • Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)

  • Strand displacement amplification (SDA)

 

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, both the number and types of NAATs authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 have increased. The FDA will likely authorize additional NAAT methods in the future.

 

What this question really speaks to, is if the policy that mandated that you get a PCR test has been updated to reflect the vast array of other equally suitable tests serving the same purpose.  Often times to cover all the possible tests that are available now or in the future, policies will state that NAATs are a suitable test, which encompasses all of the ones above.  The test we are using is the rt-LAMP, so if your organization or business has not updated your policy, please ask that they look at that. If are going to return to normal, we will need to create policies that embrace all of these diagnostic tools to make diagnosis quick and easy to access.  

Can I schedule an appointment?

We are a walk-in/drive-up testing site, no appointment necessary for testing.

How is the test performed?

The test is a shallow nasal swab that takes about 10 seconds and is relatively painless (if not comfortable).

 

Do you provide "fit to fly" certificate if I need to get on an airplane?

We sure do.  Please check with your destination on the type of testing required, many are asking for you to have a PCR test.  Clarify with them if they accept NAAT testing, which PCR is one of them.  (see the PCR question above).  

Can you bill my insurance for a test and "fit to fly" certificate?

Unfortunately, insurances are increasingly putting their feet down on paying for any and screening and surveillance testing.  For that reason, we are charging $150 for anyone requesting a "fit to fly" certificate.


When should I get tested after exposure?

After an exposure it's best to assume you are infected (self-quarantine) and get tested between 4-6 days after that exposure.

What is a SUPERBILL? and how do I get reimbursed by my insurance?

A superbill is an itemized form used by healthcare providers in the United States, which details services provided to a patient. It is the main data source for creation of a healthcare claim, which will be submitted to payers (insurances, funds, programs) for reimbursement.

Can I stay in my car to be tested?

Yep.

How do I get my results?

We will upload your results and any documentation into your OnPatient Health Portal.

I have Kaiser or Sutter Select insurance...

You have selected to work in an insurance system that is based on creating increased value to their patients.  To achieve this they ask that you trust them to determine when and where medical care should be delivered.  Please contact them to find out where and when you can get tested. 

I understand that testing is free to everyone...

Last summer, Congress passed the CARES Act which creates a fund to reimburse providers for necessary care to uninsured patients due directly to COVID illness.  Another part of that Act was reimbursement to medical businesses that lost money due to COVID.  That looks very attractive, on news headlines, but in practice, it is a nightmare, fraught with a lengthy bureaucratic process, semi-functional technologies and other pitfalls.

For everyone else, the Government expects private insurance to pay for it and the assumption is that those private insurances could submit for business loss due to COVID via the CARES Act.  The CARES Act fund is not a bottomless pit and it will eventually run out of funds, at which time we will see a flood of denials.  

 

As a startup small business, we had to draw the line on how much risk and delayed or denied reimbursement we could tolerate.  We apologize and hope you understand. 

Do you take insurance?

Our business model is by default a cash practice (which is an entire essay), but with the pandemic we have entered a temporary relationship with private insurance and the uninsured (CARES Act) for testing and vaccination. We are still pending approval for Medicare and Medi-Cal, so we are not accepting them yet. When we return to normal we will re-evaluate these relationships.