What is going on here???
Social media was in an uproar earlier today after Atlanta’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church announced COVID-19 testing—for a price. The former church of the late Bishop Eddie Long now helmed by Pastor Jamal Bryant shared on social media that they’d be offering drive-thru testing this weekend for the coronavirus crisis.
The AJC also reported that the church had a goal of testing 1,000 people and a flyer said that the tests would cost $125—but be reimbursed by insurance.
“Assessment: $25 Testing $125 Limited slots available,” read the flyer. *Reimbursement through insurance. Register online @Newbirth.org Donations welcomed!”
The flyer quickly caused a biblical amount of shade from people alleging that Pastor Bryant was digging into parishioner’s pockets for profit.
Bryant broke down the church’s COVID-19 testing initiative to The AJC and said that the church’s goal is to “help people of color without adequate access to healthcare” who are “pretty low on the totem pole.” He also explained that the church had 1,000 tests to provide on Saturday and Sunday of this weekend.
“This initiative began, said Bryant, when he was approached by a Florida lab that wanted to partner with New Birth to provide test kits. Other partners include health professionals around the metro area.The spread of the pandemic is forcing churches to “live out loud and do what we’re called to do, which is to provide a service.
”Here’s how it was to happen: Those interested in participating were to register in advance and go through a medical pre-screening before the onsite test can be administered. Pre-screening was to be performed by RoweDocs costs $25 with COVID-19 testing fees at $125. People should check with their insurer. Established in 2014, RoweDocs is African-American owned telemedicine company.Bryant said there are so many people of color living on the margins without adequate access to health services or little or no health issues, that this was the right thing to do.When it comes to testing, these people are “pretty low on the totem pole.”
Unfortunately, that won’t be happening—not because of people BALKING at the $125 price on the flyer but because of a mandate. As previously reported Governor Brian Kemp has issued a stay at home order for the entire state of Georgia that goes into effect on Friday. That stay order goes until April 13.
Pastor Bryant has issued several statements via Twitter.
He recently said “Nope,” to a user who asked if the $125 testing was true.
He also said that the LAB was charging for tests, NOT the church and noted that there’s “no free testing” anywhere.
“We are charging NOTHING….your insurance reimburses you!!” said Bryant.
He also directly addressed the criticism via Instagram and said the $125 cost was for the lab processing fee and added that the church applied for grants to be able to provide free testing.
“As a side note it’s regrettable that so many people assume the worse when it comes to the church even when attempting to serve. We were never charging anyone to make any sort of profit,” said Pastor Bryant on a post announcing the philanthropic testing’s postponement.
“The $125 is the lab processing fee that was reimbursed by insurance providers. In fact we were raising money for those with no insurance to have access. We are not a hospital so we can’t process them ourselves. I’m praying that during this quarantine the funding will come so that all will be free. We have already applied for grants and as God has done before I’m confident HE will do it again. Something good is gonna come out of this!”
He also apologized if that wasn’t made especially clear.
“If we didn’t communicate this properly we apologize as we are all amateurs in navigating a pandemic!” wrote the clergy member.
Social media’s still giving Gizelle Bryant’s (old/new) boo the side-eye about all this, but do YOU understand the $125 COVID-19 testing price tag??