HHS extends COVID-19 testing public-private partnership

July 2, 2020

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will extend its contract with national pharmacy and grocery retail chains CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Quest (through services at Walmart) and eTrueNorth (through services at Kroger, Health Mart, and Walmart) for COVID-19 testing, the department announced in a press release.

The program operates more than 600 COVID-19 testing sites in 48 states and Washington. Approximately 70 percent of these testing sites are in communities with moderate-to-high social vulnerability, as evidenced by their racial, and ethnic composition, and their housing, economic, language barrier, and similar considerations.

Under the contract, retailers receive a flat fee for each test administered, and they are responsible for coordinating end-to-end testing. That process includes online and telephone registration and appointment scheduling, provider order and notification of result, on-site personnel and security, medical supplies and equipment, and lab testing (on-site or commercial lab) capabilities. They are also required to adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) testing criteria.

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