The health of our patients, families and team members guides every decision we make at St. Bernards. Early this year, we recognized COVID-19’s pandemic qualities and began immediate preparations for the virus to reach our region.
We started screening patients and administering COVID-19 tests as soon as the virus entered Arkansas and our bordering states. We even dedicated one of our Urgent Care clinics completely to COVID-19 testing.
Unfortunately, our laboratory options to complete the process were limited at the time, especially with the Arkansas Department of Health’s lab inundated with statewide samples. Per the Department’s urging, we began using commercial labs, engaging with a national lab, Quest Diagnostics, based in Secaucus, N.J.
Because of Quest’s backlog of COVID-19 samples, the lab failed to provide timely results on nearly all the samples we sent. Consequently, our patients, their families and our team members did not receive results in the timeframe we expect, and we ceased sending samples to Quest.
St. Bernards noticed the delay quickly, coordinating with three additional commercial labs for expedient and accurate testing. Since the other labs opened to us, our process improved greatly, receiving results in as few as 24 hours. In addition, we have coordinated with our patients tested through Quest for further information.
We appreciate the community’s understanding and support, and we share frustrations that Quest Diagnostics has not met expectations. St. Bernards anticipates this process will streamline even further going forward, standing ready to assist any person needing COVID-19 screening as well as potential testing and medical attention.