Screenshot 2024 04 08 102657 2024 06 25 052606 cazm

Changes to COVID-19 testing

Screenshot 2024 04 08 102657 2024 06 25 052606 cazm

5 June 2024 

Changes to COVID-19 testing 

Effective Monday 17th June 2024, COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) testing will only be performed as part of multiplex respiratory pathogen testing. 

This change aligns with Medical Service Advisory Committee (MSAC) national guidelines which recommend against testing for a single pathogen as it does not reflect best clinical practice. 

We encourage all users to routinely order “Respiratory Pathogens NAT Swab” when testing patients with suspected respiratory infections. This has the advantage of identifying a range of other pathogens that may be causing illness and require different treatment from COVID-19. 

In addition to SARS-CoV-2, the multiplex respiratory panel includes adenovirus, influenza A, B, parainfluenza 1, 2 and 3, human metapneumovirus, rhinovirus, RSV, Mycoplasma pneumoniae and Bordetella pertussis. 

MSAC guidance is reflected in a change in the Medical Benefit Schedule (MBS) reimbursements for respiratory pathogen detection, requiring that testing for multiple respiratory pathogens be performed to be eligible for MBS billing. 

All pathology orders must be requested by a medical practitioner with a provider number. Public health request forms previously provided through the COVID-19 pandemic will no longer be valid. 

If COVID-19 only testing is ordered, this request will default to the multiplex respiratory pathogen panel. The only exception to this is requesting COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic donor screening. If this is the test indication, it must be clearly documented on the request form. 

Regards Dr Morgyn Warner Acting Clinical Service Director SA Pathology

02 July 2024