Update on U.S. Efforts to Expand & Improve Access to COVID-19 Testing: Proactive Advocacy Leads to Positive Developments

The White House recently announced $1.6 billion in funding to expand and improve access to COVID-19 testing in the U.S., including:

  • $650 million to increase COVID-19 testing for schools and underserved populations through establishing regional coordinating centers to provide 25 million tests per week for K-8 schools and underserved congregant settings such as homeless shelters.
  • $815 million to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Defense to increase domestic manufacturing of testing supplies and raw materials that are in short supply. 
  • $200 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for viral sequencing of positive SARS-CoV-2 samples to identify, track, and mitigate emerging strains. 

The Biden administration noted that these investments are only the beginning of what is needed to expand testing nationwide and get the pandemic under control. As such, the White House is urging Congress to pass the American Rescue Plan which will provide additional funding to expand the testing capacity in the US.

For many months, AMP has actively engaged both the Executive Branch and Congress to work to address the supply chain issues that many laboratories have encountered. We’ve also worked to inform policymakers on the ability of clinical laboratories throughout the US to meet the country's testing needs, and the importance of sequencing emerging variants. AMP completed three surveys of our membership that collected critical data and insights into capacity and supply chain needs, shared the results through two Congressional briefings and town hall webinars, held many individual meetings with key Congressional offices, discussed the results on the CDC COVID-19 response calls, sent multiple letters to the last Administration's Task Force and the Biden transition team, and more. 

AMP is very pleased that policymakers are listening and responding to the needs of physicians and laboratory scientists on the front lines of SARS-CoV2 diagnostic testing. Now more than ever, the expertise of molecular professionals must be recognized to protect all Americans amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. We plan to continue our advocacy in support of more resources, but we welcome this announcement as a positive step in the right direction. 


Jordan Laser, MD
Vice-Chair, Professional Relations Committee- AMP
Medical Director, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine- LIJMC at Northwell Health


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