At least 60 Embry Health COVID-19 testing locations will close as funding from the federal government ends.
Embry Health has warned that they may be forced to end free testing for uninsured patients if Congress does not act soon.
“If people do not have free COVID-19 testing available, they will not get tested, putting families and loved ones at risk. Therefore, Embry Health continues to encourage Congress to authorize additional timely funding for COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccinations. This funding is critical to ensure the testing and vaccine infrastructure built by labs and providers across America remains available for all patients, regardless of insurance status,” said Embry Health CEO Raymond Embry.
On Friday, Embry Health told ABC15 60 of their sites will close, hopefully just temporarily.
The larger sites will remain like Phoenix College, Mesa Community College and Peoria Sports Complex, but the smaller test sites like inside schools and churches will close for now.
Embry plans to keep their equipment at these sites in case new funding passes or we see a new COVID-19 surge.
Each day around 3,000 patients are still tested across locations in Arizona.
Embry Health says they have also not seen reimbursements from the HRSA program since March 16th.
According to ABC News, a new deal may be reached soon. Top Senate negotiators have said they are close to striking a deal to approve $10 billion in additional COVID relief funding with just a handful of days remaining before Congress heads off for a two-week recess.
The Senate is expected to consider the legislation as soon as next week.
The renewed effort to pass additional funding to address the coronavirus pandemic comes after negotiators were forced to strip $15.6 billion in aid from a government spending package earlier in March over disagreements about how the bill would be paid for.
After days of bipartisan negotiations led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Sen. Mitt Romney, Romney told reporters Thursday that lawmakers had reached “an agreement in principle on all of the spending and all of the offsets.”
Romney said the $10 billion package would be “entirely balanced by offsets.”
The bill, however, would likely contain less than the $5 billion Democrats have lobbied to go toward the global vaccination effort, Romney cautioned. He said the bill would also still need to be scored by the Congressional Budget Office before Republicans get on board.
President Joe Biden on Wednesday implored Congress to act switfly.
“Congress, please act. You have to act immediately. The consequences of inaction are severe. They’ll only grow with time. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We have proven what we can do when we work together. So I urge Democrats and Republicans to get this done with urgency,” Biden said from the White House Wednesday.