Federal government to distribute new COVID-19 antigen test: Abbott BinaxNOW

The Federal Government has started the process of distributing a new COVID-19 antigen test:  Abbott BinaxNOW.  The focus of this distribution is to provide rural facilities with the Abbott BinaxNOW test which is a fast-acting antigen test granted an Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 viral protein.  The BinaxNOW COVID-19 is a Point-of-Care waived test with the results available within 15 minutes. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is the state distribution organization for the BinaxNOW test kit, and ICAHN has agreed to assist IDPH with providing information and any technical support to ICAHN hospital members and their clinics on the new Abbott kit distribution and reporting process.

The Abbott testing kits will be sent to critical access hospitals (CAHs) and the other rural ICAHN hospitals to distribute for use in their rural health clinics (RHCs) and for testing within the hospital.  Because the vast majority of RHCs are provider based and associated with CAHs and the other rural ICAHN members, your hospital can request Abbott kits for distribution.  The Abbott/BinaxNOW test kits are free and are to be used to test the public and/or patients as another measure for controlling the COVID virus when RT-PCR testing is not accessible.   RHCs and hospitals have received COVID funds to assist with the testing which can cover time spent in collection of specimens and required reporting.  RHCs can include staff time collecting specimens and reporting if not assigned to other COVID funding as expense reimbursement.  Community individuals or patients cannot be charged for the Abbott test since the kits are free.

Abbott Kit Distribution and Reporting

Several things to consider regarding the Abbott test and the reporting process for distribution and tracking of the free kits:

  1. The RHC’s CLIA waiver must be updated to include COVID-19 antigen testing
  2. Provider’s orders are still necessary for these tests. Standing orders from Medical Directors or other authorized providers will satisfy this requirement.
  3. Reporting of Results—positive and negative results must be reported in IDPH’s Redcap program within 24 hours of testing
  4. Test Kit Distribution—Daily emails will be sent to the email of the recipient of the shipment that will contain a link that will allow for reporting of the distribution of the tests.

Each hospital will receive 640 BinaxNOW tests during the initial shipment.  Hospitals will need to decide how to distribute the test kits then to the rural health clinics as well as ensure the CLIA waivers are updated, and RHC’s are registered to report test results into IDPH’s reporting system.  If a hospital has a number of RHCs and would like more test kits, please contact the ICAHN office.

How do I learn more about the BinaxNOW kits?

To learn more about the Abbott BinaxNOW test kit and how organizations are using the kits, please refer to the attached Local Health Department BinaxNOW Allocation Guidance.   In addition, ICAHN will be presenting a webinar in the very near future and provide more details on the kit and distribution process.   For information/questions, please email Laura Fischer at lfischer@icahn.org or call the ICAHN office at 815-875-2999.  Laura is a former lab supervisor and can answer CLIA questions and the testing process.  She is very knowledgeable and helpful.  Don’t hesitate to have your Lab Directors call Laura!

How do I request a BinaxNOW shipment?

To request a shipment, please complete the hospital request form, here:


ICAHN member hospitals will automatically receive a case of BinaxNOW kits (640 test kits).

This is a wonderful opportunity to help our rural communities and patients with another free COVID testing source.  Thank you for your work and support.