INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
A contractor hired to expand Indiana’s coronavirus testing across the state
has not been meeting its target of providing results to those tested within
48 hours, the state’s top health official said Friday.
stemming from the pandemic contributed to state tax collections coming in
$230 million, or 20%, below expectations for May, the third straight month
of significant shortfalls.
The state hired
OptumServe Health Services to open 50 testing sites statewide during May,
with plans to provide testing for the COVID-19 virus for 100,000 people
within 30 days.
Dr. Kristina Box,
the state health commissioner, said about 36,000 tests have been done by the
company so far and that her agency was looking to move some of the testing
sites to better locations and possibly create some mobile teams to travel to
possible outbreak sites.
working to make sure we can maximize the testing that we can get through
Optum,” Box said.
The company has
been sending many of the samples taken to out-of-state laboratories for
analysis, which has taken longer than what Box said was a typical 55-hour
turnaround for in-state labs. State officials are working with OptumServe to
shift more samples to closer labs, she said.
“I think that will
help that timing,” Box said.
is a division of insurance giant UnitedHealth Group, has a $17.9 million
contract with the state for the first month of testing. Box said that
contract was being renewed for a second month, which is expected to cost the
state at least $21 million.
STATE TAX WOES
Indiana’s state tax
revenue shortfall for last month was not as severe as the $964 million hit
in April that was 44% less than officials had expected.
The state could
make up some of the April gap as income tax payments that were delayed from
April are now due in July, but no such recovery is anticipated for the May
shortfall, said Cristopher Johnston, director of the state’s Office of
Management and Budget.
collections, which are the state’s largest revenue source, were down 15% for
the second straight month.
“Even in tough
economic times, there is usually a growth pattern with the sales tax,”
Johnston said. “But our May collections have not been at this level since
State tax revenue
was also off $70 million, or 6%, in March amid the coronavirus pandemic.
agencies were told last month to cut spending by 15% for the coming budget
year that starts in July. Officials have said the state could see a drop of
more than $3 billion in tax revenue over the next 14 months of its current
two-year $34 billion budget - more than the $2.3 billion in cash reserves
the state has built up over several years.