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News DDS Update for Providers on Mobile Testing

Guidance for DDS Providers regarding mobile testing for COVID-19
  • Department of Developmental Services

DDS Providers –


Since April 10, DDS has partnered with Fallon Ambulance and MassHealth to provide mobile testing to individuals we serve as well as state and provider staff in our residential programs.


We are proud to report that over 15,000 tests have been conducted for DDS in that short time.  We started by prioritizing homes where individuals showed symptoms or there was a positive case (resident or staff) already identified.  Over the past few weeks, through increases to capacity, Fallon has visited many more homes. In addition, we have collaborated with Fallon and many of your organizations to conduct more than 4,000 tests of staff at more than 25 pop-up sites across the state.


As we look to the weeks and months ahead, testing will remain a major component of how we stop the spread of the virus, along with infectious disease precautions and personal protective equipment (PPE).  Our goal for the immediate future is to continue promoting the availability of testing for residents and staff at DDS residential programs, including via mobile testing and staff pop-up testing through the Fallon partnership. Providers should also continue seeking other testing options, including visiting the testing sites listed below or organizing mobile or pop-up testing with other testing providers.


Please see below updated testing guidance: 


  1. Please continue submitting new group homes to be tested by Fallon
    1. Send the completed Mobile Testing Referral Form to your DDS Area Director.
    2. Expect that homes may be visited as soon as 24-48 hours following submission.
    3. Please indicate when an individual is showing symptoms or a positive case has been identified in resident or staff at the home, so the home can be prioritized. 


  1. Update on result reporting process.
    1. Test results are generally available within 2-3 days; however, in many cases they are available within 24 hours.  You should receive an email alert from Fallon when your results are in. 
    2. If you are unable to access your results within 72 hours through any of the options below, contact your DDS Area Director for assistance.  
    3. Test results can be accessed multiple ways including:


  1. Fallon continues to be available to conduct staff testing at pop-up locations by request
    1. To host a pop-up staff testing, please contact your DDS Regional Director with the proposed site, date, hours, and estimated number of staff that will be tested.
    2. Complete the Mobile Testing Referral Form for all staff planning to attend the pop-up testing, and submit to your DDS Regional Director by the specified deadline. 
    3. Providers with direct care staff serving other EHS agencies, such as DMH or DCF, may consider sending all staff in the area to the pop-up testing.
    4. Pop-up testing site considerations may include:
      • Available outdoor space for drive-thru or walk up testing;
      • Potential need to rent tents, tables, and chairs;
      • Bathroom accessibility for Fallon staff;
      • Trash pickup after the testing is complete (Fallon will bag and leave trash);
      • Landlord permission to use the site for pop-up testing;
      • Informing local authorities; and
      • Police detail or personnel available to help direct traffic.  


  1. Staff are encouraged to utilize all available means of viral testing, must report confirmed positive cases to their employer, and follow Return to Work guidance.  Staff testing options may include:
    1. The Commonwealth has created an interactive map of testing sites which is actively updated with key information such as:
      • Does this site accept MassHealth?
      • Does this facility test children?
      • Drive-Thru Services?
      • Appointment Required?
      • Referral Required?
      • Call First?
    2. Referral by PCP and testing available through various healthcare settings, including local Community Health Centers


  1. Retesting is available by request for individuals who have tested negative in the past and are showing new symptoms of illness or have been newly exposed to a COVID-19 positive person.
    1. Retests requests must be identified as a retest when submitted to your DDS Area Director, so that they are not removed as a duplicate, with the reason the retest is needed indicated.
    2. Retests are not available for individuals or staff who have previously tested positive.


  1. Staff may receive what appears to be a bill from their insurance company. Please note, all costs for mobile testing by Fallon, if requested through your DDS Area Director, are covered by EOHHS.
    1. However, please note that the EOHHS contract with Fallon does not include testing requests made directly to Fallon; requests for testing must be made through your DDS Area Director.


  1. Use social stories and checklists (both visual and audio available) to help prepare individuals for swab testing or a mobile testing visit from Fallon. 

Department of Developmental Services  

The Department of Developmental Services provides supports for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities including Autism Spectrum Disorder to enhance opportunities to become fully engaged members of their community.