Jamal Bryant’s church, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, is facing backlash after a plan was set in place to charge the public for coronavirus testing.
Jamal Bryant, the ex-husband of The Real Housewives of Potomac personality, Gizelle Bryant, is being called out on social media for launching an effort that would have opened the Georgia church parking lot this past weekend for coronavirus testing — at $150 a pop.
Gizelle Bryant said that the church planned to partner with a Florida lab and other health care pros in the metro area to offer the screening—promising results in 24 hours. The plan was ultimately postponed, due to Governor Brian Kemp’s statewide shelter-in-place order.
Participants would be required to register in advance, and go through pre-screening, provided on site. The church advised the public to check with insurers, and explained that telemedicine company, RoweDocs, would perform the pre-screening for $25, and the COVID-19 test for an additional $125.
Jamal Bryant said that many people of color are lacking adequate access to health services, and that the church pitching in was the right thing to do.
However, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act mandates that coronavirus testing be administered free of charge. Private insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, and other government programs cover the test, but the law doesn’t explicitly prohibit providers from charging out-of-network patients. The March 18 law also provides options that cover the uninsured.
There is no evidence that New Birth disclosed that there were no cost options available, for anyone needing the test.
It’s unclear if the effort will be rescheduled when the shelter-in-place order is lifted—but according to a statement released by New Birth, it appears that the church plans to move forward.
“To remain compliant with Governor Brian Kemp’s executive order, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and various medical partners will postpone the COVID-19 testing scheduled for this weekend,” the church’s statement said. “We look forward to coordinating with our local and state officials to support flattening the curve in Georgia and helping to heal our nation and our world from this global pandemic.”
The Real Housewives of Potomac premieres on May 3, at 8 pm, ET, on Bravo.