StarMed Healthcare CEO Michael Estramonte Addresses Delayed COVID-19 Test Results

January 10, 2022

StarMed Healthcare, as with all COVID-19 testing facilities throughout North Carolina, has experienced a significant increase in testing demand due to the spread of the Omicron variant.

Due to this unprecedented volume, with a goal of meeting demand and staying ahead of the surge, our company contracted with an outside resource lab, Premier Medical of Greenville, South Carolina, to process additional COVID-19 PCR tests collected at our various testing sites across the state. However, Premier Medical experienced an increase in testing needs from all its service locations, including the S.C. Department of Health and fell behind in providing test results due to multiple unforeseen circumstances. Unfortunately, this delay was not immediately communicated to StarMed.

On Jan. 6, it was determined an interface issue between Premier’s lab software and StarMed’s results notification system caused delays in approximately 8,000 samples being reported to our patients. After this was discovered and corrected on Jan. 7, StarMed identified an additional number of test results that were still not available beyond the 72-hour turnaround timeline and were “in process” status at Premier. Since that discovery, we have been actively working with Premier to finalize the remaining outstanding test results. In the meantime, StarMed will be reaching out directly to patients who were impacted by Premier’s backlog and is offering re-tests with StarMed’s internal lab.

While we do trust and rely on many vendor relationships and contractual service level agreements with each of them to assist in our fight against COVID-19, ultimately, our company accepts responsibility when those expectations are not met and our patients are negatively impacted as a result.

As you might imagine, the large number of delayed test results from Premier Medical resulted in significant spikes in support call and email volume seemingly overnight, quickly exceeding the capacity our call center was staffed to handle. We were not equipped, nor did we anticipate a need for support for more than 2,500 phone calls per day. StarMed is upgrading our system and hiring additional staff to handle the increased call center demand due to these delays.

Please know that we’ve been working around the clock for several weeks processing and reporting test results. No one at StarMed Healthcare is resting and we will continue that pace as long as necessary.

We are grateful to the community for the outpouring of support and understanding as we tackle the multiple challenges that have arisen from the historical surge in COVID-19 testing.

We value our patients’ trust to keep them safe and informed. We’re committed to providing the highest level of service as we navigate this dramatic demand for testing. We are all facing stressful situations during this pandemic, and we want every patient to receive test results as quickly and efficiently as possible.

StarMed Healthcare appreciates your patience and understanding as we all work through this together.

Michael Estramonte
StarMed Healthcare | CEO