WHEATLAND – Winter may be wrapping up but that doesn’t mean we’re in the clear for Strep throat or other illnesses just yet. Platte County Public Health just announced they will not be administering Strep tests anymore, so what are the options?
In an effort to fill the gap, the Banner Health Clinic on Brice Street is offering Strep tests for their cost of the test - $33. It is more than what Public Health charged, but they can’t get the tests for any lower not being a government agency. If the test is positive and if you are an established patient, you can make an appointment with the nurse at the clinic for no charge and receive the prescription script. However, becoming an established patient requires an appointment with a provider that can cost over $160. Banner does offer financial assistance, but you have to ask about it and fill out the paperwork to be accepted for the program. There is also a discount if you pay upfront. Most importantly, talk to them if you know you will struggle in paying the bill. They can set up payment plans and assist you if it is discussed before the bill becomes overdue.
Some might be tempted to just wait out the illness believing it will go away eventually without medication, but that avenue is discouraged.
“Untreated Strep Throat can turn into Scarlet Fever or even Rheumatic fever,” explained ER Doctor Jim Hawley. “It can damage your heart and lead to even more ongoing and serious health problems.”
In addition, the longer the sickness lasts, the longer there is no income coming in because of not being able to work or having to stay home with a sick child that can’t go to daycare.
“Many families are falling through the cracks of proper health coverage. They don’t qualify for Medicaid, but they also don’t make enough income to have good quality insurance so the deductibles are too high to be effective,” said Becky Condie, Center Coordinator of Wyoming Child and Family in Wheatland. “As a community, what can we do to help meet the needs of our community?”
There are some other options if you can drive out of town. At the NextCare Urgent Care on 4136 Laramie Street in Cheyenne, they offer an Advantage program that costs $145 to get established and includes all tests, Strep, Influenza, etc., for the first three months. After the initial three months, each visit costs $35 and includes any tests. They are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays as well as weekdays.
Converse County Public Health has a nurse practitioner on staff and anyone is welcome to come in for care, even if you live out of county. Strep tests are $5.