February 22, 2021

Congressman Joe Neguse Advocates for Surveillance Testing Funds to Help Colorado Schools Reopen

Washington, D.C. — Today, Congressman Joe Neguse sent letters to House leadership and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) advocating for funds to support Colorado’s surveillance testing program. Colorado recently started using BinaxNow tests for surveillance testing of students and educators and plans to expand the use of these tests more broadly to support re-opening efforts within the state. Despite this necessity, surveillance testing of symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals is not stated as an eligible expense for reimbursement from FEMA. Congressman Neguse, today, wrote to FEMA requesting that funds for surveillance tests be included as a reimbursable expense by the agency, and he also wrote House Leadership to request that tests such as the BinaxNow rapid antigen tests for surveillance testing be included as a reimbursable expense or as an eligible use for funds included in the American Rescue Plan. 

“As Colorado works to reopen schools, childcare facilities, and other important elements of the economy, surveillance testing is a critical tool to ensure that we are able to do so safely,” said Congressman Neguse. “By making surveillance testing accessible, our public health and the economy are simultaneously prioritized, which is increasingly important as the country works to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Surveillance testing is a valuable method of collecting data surrounding the COVID-19 virus. Rather than diagnosing individuals, surveillance testing aims to better understand the virus itself and provides information needed to plan the reopening of communities. Currently, this type of testing is not a reimbursable expense through FEMA. Both letters advocate for surveillance testing for COVID-19, including large-scale antigen-based rapid testing, to be considered a reimbursable expense. 

Chairman Pallone and the Energy and Commerce Committee included $46 billion for COVID-19 testing in The American Rescue Plan, which is currently making its way through the Committee on the Budget, Committee on Rules, and to the Floor of the House of Representatives.