Des Moines VNA Scores High with DNA Test
DNA testing, once the stuff of futuristic Hollywood movies and high-profile criminal trials, may soon be coming to a VNA near you. The VNS of Des Moines is turning DNA testing, used to distinguish a single person from anyone else, into its own revenue blockbuster while delivering quality healthcare services to local communities.
One year ago Linda Peacock, Director of Occupational Health at the VNS of Des Moines, was scheduling TB surveillance clinics for the local Community Work Release Program. The VNS’ exceptional work on the TB project segued into a contract with the 5th Judicial District to collect state mandated DNA samples from persons convicted of felonies (and other lesser crimes) who had been released from prison without providing DNA specimens to the state’s DNA database. Ms. Peacock and a team of four VNS nurses worked with the judicial district to collect DNA from the necessary individuals at secure probation locations and billed the Judicial District on a monthly basis.
Once the state’s backlog of criminal DNA testing was restored, Ms. Peacock approached the lab responsible for processing and evaluating the samples to discuss the possibility of the VNS operating paternity DNA testing for the Child Support Recovery Agency. Shortly thereafter, the VNS won the contract and is now conducting four monthly clinics and testing 85-100 individuals per month. Scheduling one collection every five minutes, they charge from $6.00-$25.00 per sample collected, and bill the appropriate agency once a month.
The collection of DNA is a simple five-step process for the VNS nurse: 1) collect the specimen (via finger prick or buccal swab), 2) fingerprint the individual, 3) take a Polaroid photo, 4) record the individual’s name and the date of the collection and 5) ship overnight the sample to the contracted lab. The lab is then responsible for record keeping and notification/verification of the results with the Judiciary or Child Support Recovery Agency, leaving the VNS virtually free of cumbersome paperwork and costs. In addition, all materials for the collections are provided by the lab, including the Polaroid cameras and film. The total operating cost to Visiting Nurse Services for a DNA clinic: the salaries of the RNs managing the clinic.
For more information or to get suggestions on starting your own VNA-DNA testing program contact Linda Peacock at VNS of Des Moines at 515-558-9985.
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