DHHS Announces Hospital Decompression Program; Free At-Home COVID Testing for Nebraska Residents

News Release
For Immediate Release: 1/25/2022

​Jeff Powell, (402) 471-6223,

Lincoln, Neb. – The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is announcing a Hospital Decompression Program to help open up more acute beds in hospitals and a free at-home COVID-19 testing initiative for all Nebraska residents.

Hospital Decompression Program

The Hospital Decompression Program is designed to move patients out of hospitals when they no longer require acute care, but still require skilled nursing care and have been unable to find a skilled nursing facility (SNF).

This program will allow recovering patients to receive necessary care while they wait to discharge to their home or find an SNF facility without making use of acute hospital beds. A total of 78 to 98 hospital decompression beds will be available in the following locations:

  • Lincoln: 16 to 36 beds operated by Mission Health Communities
  • Omaha: 32 beds (TBA pending finalized contract)
  • Grand Island: 30 bed (TBA pending finalized contract)

The first patients will be accepted to the Lincoln facility on February 1. Other facilities will begin accepting patients 10 to 14 days after contracts are finalized.

Free At-Home Testing

DHHS is finalizing a contract with eMed, a healthcare solutions company to provide 200,000 at-home COVID-19 test kits for Nebraska residents. DHHS will work with local health departments (LHDs) to place kits for pickup at locations throughout the state.

Once picked up, Nebraskans can perform the test on their own or be helped through a video call. DHHS will have the option to buy more tests if needed.

The at-home testing options are expected to begin being made available during the first week of February. A website with testing locations is in progress and will be made available in the coming days.

In addition, the Nebraska Public Health Lab (NPHL)—which is a cooperative partnership between the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), DHHS, and Nebraska Medicine—is working to connect with private testing facilities to help process tests during periods of high demand. ​

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