Advisory: Health Protection Standards for Paramedical Lab Testing for Insurance During COVID-19Release Date: 06/09/2020 Staff Reference: Sarah Hobbs
Some provinces have begun taking steps to re-open non-emergency health services to their residents. Some medical labs have started to resume non-emergency paramedical testing for insurance purposes, such as blood and urine samples, which are required to accurately assess risk in order to underwrite some insurance applications.
For other health services, provincial governments have relied on regulatory colleges to outline guidelines for return to practice. However, the providers of paramedical services are not governed by one regulatory body as many other para-professionals are. Given that these tests are typically taken at an applicant’s home and require physical contact with the applicant, it is important that proper protocols are followed to protect the health and safety of our clients and the broader community.
We understand providers are monitoring the public health standards and are establishing appropriate standards that they will operate under to protect the health of both the applicant and service provider. We understand these standards will consider the following:
- Pre-screening for both the client and the paramed, such as questionnaires or self-assessment tools on possible symptoms;
- Physical distancing requirements, including maintaining two metres in areas when the testing is not taking place;
- Hand hygiene for both the client and paramed prior to and following testing;
- Enhanced cleaning requirements for all equipment used in the testing. For fixed testing sites and mobile testing, the paramed must ensure proper cleaning between client testing; and
- Proper personal protective equipment should be worn by the paramed, including a mask and gloves.
As provinces start to open non-emergency health care services to their residents, life and health insurers are urging that they consider non-emergency paramedical testing for insurance to ensure appropriate health protection standards are met as services resume.
Finally, it is important that insurance clients receive clear and thoughtful communication before undertaking any testing. Clients should fully understand the potential risks associated with having a paramedical test taken and should always be given the choice to not undergo any testing if they do not feel comfortable or safe.