COVID-19: Community Testing Support Program

On August 11, 2022, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated the COVID-19 guidance for community, school, and early childhood education settings. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) supports these updates and is currently working to update its website and materials to reflect these changes.


On October 6, 2021, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) relaunched the Testing Pilot Program, now referred to as the Community Testing Support Program, to support organizations across the state in offering local, convenient COVID-19 testing.

The original program (Testing Pilot Program) began on August 13, 2020, and directed $45 million in CARES Act funding to local and tribal health departments as well as health care providers licensed by the State of Wisconsin to increase access to COVID-19 testing consistent with the local health department testing strategy. 

The COVID-19 Community Testing Support Program is an extension of the Testing Pilot Program and provides payments to Wisconsin organizations that conduct eligible COVID-19 testing (for example, specimen collection and result communication) in community-based settings, outbreak-based settings, and in high-risk congregate settings.


Program details

Eligible parties receive $20 per person tested, including results communication, for testing conducted. Free testing supplies and courier services will be provided to approved applicants through contracted vendors.

All public health departments, health care providers, and other organizations under the authority and oversight of a physician are eligible for the Community Testing Support Program. The anticipated program end date is Spring 2023.

Application materials

All entities that apply for the COVID-19 Community Testing Support Program are required to complete:

  • A program application (Excel).
  • Proof of partnership with local/tribal health departments related to proposed testing site. Partnership can be documented via email correspondence, memo of understanding, or other documented agreement.

Both the application and corresponding partnership documentation should be submitted via email to the Community Testing Support Program. Upon receipt of the application, those entities that are not currently registered as a supplier (vendor) for the State of Wisconsin will be sent a New Supplier Form (DOA-6460) and IRS W-9 to complete and return as well.

More information about the Community Testing Support Program

Eligible providers, reimbursement, testing criteria, and specimen site collection settings

Eligible providers
  • Any local or tribal health department.
  • Any health care provider licensed by the State of Wisconsin.
  • Any individual or organization trained in sample collection for medical testing. These individuals or organizations need to work under the authority and supervision of a medical doctor or a local/tribal health department.
Eligible reimbursement
  • $20 per individual receiving eligible services in Wisconsin paid to the eligible provider.
  • The Department of Health Services will review all applications to ensure they are consistent with state and local testing priorities.
  • The Department of Health Services reserves the right to approve/deny applications based on how well they meet the following criteria:
    • Ability to serve a geographic area without access to community testing
    • Ability to serve an at-risk/high-risk populations
    • Ability to provide mobile support to facilities in the event of an outbreak
  • The funds will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis until the deadline.
  • The Department of Health Services will only respond to those applications that meet the application criteria.
  • Reimbursement and supplies will be available as funding permits.


Eligible individuals testing criteria
  • Criteria 1: Symptomatic people
  • Criteria 2: Close contacts of a confirmed COVID-19 case, regardless of symptoms
  • Criteria 3: Asymptomatic people recommended for testing under the following scenarios:*
    • Investigation of outbreaks, such as multiple cases in a workplace, residential facility, or correctional facility.
    • Testing of residents and staff in high-risk congregate facilities to prevent or contain outbreaks.

* Re-testing of skilled nursing facility (SNF) staff will not be eligible under this program as other funds have been dedicated to this effort.
* This program is not intended to replace other legitimate and available payment for COVID-19 testing services from insurance remittance, Medicare, or other public assistance programs.

Eligible specimen site collection settings
  • Community-based testing: Your testing location is open and accessible to the general public. For example, any new or established setting that is open to eligible individuals, regardless of provider affiliation or insurance status. COVID-19 testing open to members of the public, regardless of provider affiliation, in one or more Wisconsin communities and conducted under the authority of a public health agency. This does not include testing performed in an ambulatory or inpatient setting. It is recommended that these sites are consistently and reliably available, with hours and locations that are widely promoted and convenient to the public, and where PPE reducing isolation and prevention measures help ensure the safety of health care workers and the individuals who need a test.
  • Outbreak-based testing: At the direction of local public health, testing at a workplace, congregate living setting, or other community-based setting in order to prevent or contain an outbreak. COVID-19 testing conducted under the authority of a public health agency in response to an outbreak. Testing may occur in a variety of settings, including an occupational setting, congregate living setting, or community-based setting.

Note: The State of Wisconsin is providing routine re-testing of skilled nursing facility (SNF) staff through a separate initiative. Unless responding to an outbreak, SNF staff re-testing will not be eligible under this announcement without prior written notification from the facility that they will not seek reimbursement through one of the alternative programs for these services. If all other funds are exhausted, please contact the program manager listed below for clarification.

Specimen collection requirements

Required specimen collection site services

Specimen collection for polymerase chain reaction (also known as PCR) diagnostic testing, specimen transport to lab, and individual test result communication.

Required specimen collection site reporting criteria

Application requirements (as applicable to various provider groups)

Complete the application in advance of a testing event with the following information and submit to the Community Testing Support Program:

  • Contact information for the testing event lead
    • Name
    • Phone number
    • Email address
    • Mailing and billing address
  • Ordering provider information
    • Name
    • Provider mailing and billing address
    • National provider identifier (NPI)
    • Tax identification number (TIN)
  • Provider type
    • Public health department
    • Health care provider licensed by the State of Wisconsin
  • Identifying information for each planned testing event (whether one time or enduring), including:
    • Proof of partnership with local public health (email or letter upload is recommended)
    • Lab partner
    • Anticipated number of tests
    • Anticipated testing date(s)
    • Anticipated location(s)

Submission of payment reimbursement

Submit an invoice to the Community Testing Support Program and include the following information:

  • Reimbursement amount requested, based on $20 for each individual receiving eligible services.
  • The unique testing project identifier assigned by the Department of Health Services following the initial application (this will be used to verify completion of testing).
  • Final information on completed, approved testing event, including:
    • Number of people tested per week, patient eligibility type, setting type.
    • Health care provider that conducted testing.
    • Testing date(s) and location(s).

All providers submitting applications may be subject to an audit to ensure expenses are accurate and documented. This will be done on a sample basis.

Additional requirements for reimbursement

  • Register with the State of Wisconsin as a supplier (if not already registered with the state) by completing a New Supplier Form (DOA-6460) and IRS W-9 form. These forms will be sent to applicants upon receipt of their application. Once the forms are completed, submit to the Bureau of Fiscal Services.
  • Follow applicable laws, including privacy and employment laws.
  • Work with a CLIA-certified lab to electronically submit all positive and negative COVID-19 results into WEDDS within 24 hours.
  • Provide DHS-approved post-test instructions to eligible individuals:
  • By submitting each request for reimbursement, the applicant agrees to the following:
    • That the applicant has exercised reasonable care and made all reasonable efforts to ensure that the submitted information is accurate in all respects.
    • That none of the services submitted for reimbursement through this program have been already reimbursed from another outside source or submitted for reimbursement through any other state or federal program, including without limitation, insurance remittance, Medicare, or any other public assistance programs for COVID-19 testing expenses.
    • That if the applicant later receives funding from an outside source that is used to cover any services that were previously submitted for reimbursement from this program, the applicant will immediately notify DHS, withdraw the claimed items for reimbursement to the extent covered by an outside source, and either (a) submit evidence of additional, previously unreimbursed testing services eligible under this program that are sufficient to cover the withdrawn items; or (b) repay the amount of the payments received for the withdrawn items.
    • That the applicant will maintain, for at least five years, records sufficient to demonstrate that all tests submitted for reimbursement are eligible under the program criteria.
    • That the applicant will cooperate and provide any relevant information or records requested by DHS, its authorized representatives, or any federal or state auditing agency, and will hold DHS and the state harmless for any audit disallowance related to the items submitted for reimbursement, irrespective of whether the audit is ordered by federal or state agencies or by the courts. The applicant is solely responsible for repaying to the state or federal government any amounts it receives that are later found to be ineligible under this program or the CARES Act.
    • That the applicant understands that CARES Act funds provided to local government entities qualify as federal assistance for purposes of the Single Audit Act and 2 C.F.R. part 200, subpart f. Further information relating to the single audit compliance is available on the Wisconsin Department of Administration website.
    • That the state, by providing funds to the applicant, assumes no liability for any acts or omissions of the applicant or any of its officers, employees, contractors, or agents which are in any way related to the costs for which the applicant seeks reimbursement. The applicant will indemnify and hold harmless DHS and the state and all of its officers, agents, and employees from all suits, actions, or claims of any character brought for or on account of any injuries or damages received by any persons or property resulting from the operations of the entity, or of any of its contractors, in performing the testing activities.
    • As required by Wis. Stat. § 16.765, the applicant will not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of age, race, religion, color, handicap, sex, physical condition, developmental disability as defined in Wis. Stat. § 51.01(5), sexual orientation as defined in Wis. Stat. § 111.32(13m), or national origin, including without limitation the following: employment, upgrading, demotion or transfer; recruitment or recruitment advertising; layoff or termination; rates of pay or other forms of compensation; and selection for training, including apprenticeship. Except with respect to sexual orientation, the applicant will take affirmative action to ensure equal employment opportunities. The applicant will post in conspicuous places, available for employees and applicants for employment, notices to be provided by the contracting officer setting forth the provisions of the State of Wisconsin’s nondiscrimination law.
    • Pursuant to 2019 Wisconsin Executive Order 1, the applicant will hire only on the basis of merit and will not (and did not) discriminate against any persons performing any work for which reimbursement is sought on account of their military or veteran status, gender identity or expression, marital or familial status, genetic information or political affiliation.
    • That the person submitting requesting reimbursement for the applicant has read this document and has the intent and legal authorization to agree to all terms and conditions on the applicant’s behalf.

Key dates

  • Applications accepted beginning: October 6, 2021
  • Anticipated program end date: Spring, 2023.
  • Applications will continue to be accepted from local and tribal health departments through Spring, 2023. 
  • Initial payments: After concluding an approved testing event, or the first week of an ongoing event
  • Additional payments: As often as weekly following testing activity

Funds will be awarded retroactive to the application receipt date.

Fund source information

  • Federal Award Identification Number: N/A
  • Federal Award Date: N/A
  • CFDA #: 21.019, Coronavirus Relief Fund
  • Federal Awarding Agency: Department of the Treasury
  • Total Amount of the Federal Award: $1,997,294,785.80
  • Amount of Federal Funds Obligated by this Award: Refer to Program summary above
  • Total Amount of Federal Funds Obligated: Refer to Program summary above
  • Research and Development: No
  • Indirect Cost Rate: N/A

Frequently asked questions

What is the funding start date?

Funds will be awarded retroactive to the application receipt date. 

Does our application include state-supported specimen collection supplies and diagnostic services?

Once approved for this program, you will have access to specimen collection and/or diagnostic services through the state’s COVID-19 Collection Supplies Request website.

Are health care entities able to bill third-party payers for individuals tested at community sites?

If the applicant receives testing supplies and/or laboratory diagnostics from the state, they are NOT able to bill for those supplies and/or services. If the applicant does NOT receive diagnostics from the state, then they may bill for the laboratory services. Applicants are prohibited from seeking third-party payment for the actual specimen collection service.

Are there terms for acceptance of specimen collection supplies and laboratory services?

Yes, pursuant to the ordering process on the COVID-19 Collection Supplies Request website, there are terms for acceptance of supplies and laboratory services. Terms and conditions are subject to change; please visit the COVID-19 Collection Supplies Request website to learn more.

Are fire departments and emergency medical services (EMS) providers eligible to apply to conduct a testing event and receive direct payment?

Yes, fire departments or EMS providers licensed by the State of Wisconsin are eligible to receive direct payment after receiving approval for an application and conducting the testing site.

Are existing community-based testing efforts eligible?

Yes; however, providers cannot be paid for specimens collected by the Wisconsin National Guard. Providers who conduct additional testing as part of an effort to replace the National Guard effort may receive reimbursement for the specimens they uniquely collect.

Should the local health department or health care provider apply in advance of a testing event or after it is complete?

Yes, the local health department or health care provider will apply first and get their application approved prior to the event. Once the application is approved, the Department of Health Services will provide a unique project ID that will be used to confirm the testing specimens with WEDSS data.

When applying in advance of an event, is there an expectation of providing a final report?

Yes, each local health department or health care provider conducting a testing event should submit an invoice to the Community Testing Support Program Manager that includes:

  • Reimbursement amount, based on $20 for each individual receiving eligible services.
  • The unique testing project ID assigned by the Department of Health Services following the initial application (used to verify completion of testing).
  • Final information on completed testing events, including:
    • Number of people tested per week, patient eligibility type, and setting type.
    • Health care provider that conducted the testing.
    • Testing date(s) and location(s).

Where do I submit my application?

Submit your application to the Community Testing Support Program Manager.

Is reimbursement available for testing done prior to August 13, 2020?

No. There are no retroactive payments for testing that occurred prior to August 13, 2020.

Last Revised: July 26, 2022

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