- Kroger’s healthcare division has announced plans to launch an employer-focused health and wellness program for American companies called COVIDCare Plus. The program will launch in 17 states, with more to come.
- At the center of the program is Kroger Health’s COVID-19 home test kit, which was approved by the FDA in July. The kit combines self-administered testing with a telehealth consultation by a licensed healthcare professional to supervise the test.
- With greater access to COVID-19 testing through Kroger Health, employers can get quicker results for their employees and determine whether or not it is safe for them to work, the grocer stated. Kroger said its test kits produce results in 24 to 48 hours.
Access to testing has been a major challenge for many organizations and individuals throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and Kroger is stepping in to meet demand with COVIDCare Plus. Not only does the retailer want to make tests more widely available, it also wants to speed up the timing of results.
The Centers for Disease Control has reported that with demand for testing on the rise, the availability of results is getting slowed down. In some hard-hit areas, patients are waiting up to three weeks for results. A recent report from lab testing company Quest Diagnostics said the average turnaround time for COVID-19 test results is now more than seven days.
The program has the potential to boost Kroger’s reputation as a retailer with healthcare expertise, which could bring more business to its pharmacies and clinics. It may also create major demand for its home test kit, which is currently available to individuals by prescription after an assessment.
Kroger Health has used the same testing process at its drive-thru community test sites across the country, which have administered about 150,000 tests in recent months.
Outside of testing, COVIDCare Plus will also provide employers and those who work for them access to other services, including vaccinations, telehealth and telenutrition, Kroger said in the press release. In a statement, Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Health, said that while COVID-19 is the primary short-term focus to help the country in its recovery efforts, Kroger Health also recognizes the need to focus on health and wellness long-term.
Several other retailers have joined the effort to make COVID-19 testing more widely available, though none have developed their own test kits yet. Rite Aid has been providing drive-thru COVID-19 testing since April, when it joined the White House Coronavirus Task Force. It has rapidly expanded its testing sites across the U.S. since an initial launch in Philadelphia. CVS, Walmart and Walgreens have also launched testing sites in many states across the U.S.