Health Department Establishes Zika Call Center for Health Care Providers to Request Virus Testing

Call center streamlines testing procedures and assures that appropriate tests are ordered, packaged and tracked

Health care providers must now call the NYC Health Department at 1-866-692-3641 for approval before testing any NYC residents 

March 21, 2016 – The City's Health Department today announced a new call center dedicated to receiving and handling requests for Zika virus testing from health care providers. Starting today, health care providers must call the NYC Provider Access Line (PAL) at 1-866-692-3641 to request Zika virus testing for NYC residents. The new process for submitting Zika virus specimens for testing to the Department’s Public Health Laboratory (PHL) will assure that the appropriate tests are ordered and that specimens are correctly collected, labeled, processed, packaged, and transported.

“We are happy to announce a call center where health care providers can receive assistance about testing criteria, specimen collection and submission for Zika virus testing,” said  Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “Since the W.H.O. first raised concern about the Zika virus outbreaks in Latin America, the Health Department has been at the forefront of Zika virus preparedness. The agency has kept abreast of new developments and we have improved our testing procedures and guidance to health care providers as we learn new information.  This call center will streamline the testing process to allow providers a faster turnaround in getting the information they need to care for patients.”

The Health Department will assist providers calling the line with ordering the appropriate tests, completing required forms, and arranging transport of specimens to PHL. Health Department representatives will provide guidance to providers and ensure that testing criteria are met. If criteria are met, the Health Department representative will collect information required to order the appropriate testing and will complete the required laboratory submission forms. The representative will also advise providers on the types of specimens to collect.

After the order has been processed, providers will receive a copy of the completed laboratory submission form for their patient and instructions for specimen collection and handling within approximately 15 minutes after the call has been completed. This will allow providers to verify that all of the information on the laboratory submission form is accurate. If there are any inaccuracies, providers are asked to call back immediately to correct the errors. Testing will be performed at PHL, Wadsworth Center Laboratory, and/or the CDC depending on the specimen type and test.

Additional information for providers on laboratory testing for Zika virus is available at: Reporting & Services page.

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Christopher Miller/Carolina Rodríguez:
(347) 396-4177, pressoffice@health.nyc.gov