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In the News: Paul Markovich Talks About COVID-19 Testing In California

In this 'Tradeoffs' podcast with host Dan Gorenstein, Markovich, president and CEO of Blue Shield of California discusses the state's effort to ramp up testing

Paul Markovich, president and chief executive of Blue Shield of California and co-chair of Gov. Gavin Newsom's state's testing task force, spoke with Dan Gorenstein of the 'Tradeoffs' podcast about COVID-19 testing in California. Markovich is joined by Dr. Charity Dean, co-chair of the testing task force and Bob Kocher, a partner, Venrock, a Palo Alto-based venture capital firm.

Charity Dean: A lot of the way that data is tracked in public health right now is the same way it was 100 years ago. And we’re still faxing or mailing paper records of test results. And that means the emergency room can’t just log into a system and see all of that patient’s information. So that cripples the ability to be nimble and fast on the ground.

Dan Gorenstein: Another priority: affordable, reliable tests companies need to keep workers safe as they return to the office. Paul says the majority of tests are really inefficient. 

Paul Markovich: Having people go to a physical location, sticking a very large swab up their nose and tickling their brain, putting it in a tube with some goop and sending it to a lab and running it all through at $100 a pop is the most accurate gold standard way to have confidence whether someone is infected or not.

Gorenstein: The task force says insurers pick up about 90% of the cost of the actual tests. The state pays half a million dollars a day to run the 100 testing sites. 

Listen to the full podcast below: