Kroger Health will start offering its COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kit with the guidance of a telehealth consultation.
The FDA granted Emergency Use Authorization for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Test Home Collection Kit to Kroger Health — making it the first retailer to receive an authorization for a COVID-19 test.
Kroger Health, the health care division of The Kroger Co., said in a press release that its COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kit will be immediately available to frontline associates across Kroger's Family of Companies, based on medical need.1
Next, Cincinnati, Ohio-based Kroger Health plans to “rapidly expand the availability of the home collection kits to other companies and organizations in the coming weeks, with a goal of processing up to 60,000 tests per week by the end of July,” it said.
Kroger Health is partnering with Gravity Diagnostics, a full-service clinical laboratory located in Covington, Kentucky, on the home collection tests.
"Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the safety of our associates and our customers has remained our top priority," said Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Health.
"Over the past few months, Kroger Health has been providing Americans with access to COVID-19 testing through community test sites across the country; however, we've observed some individuals do not have access to transportation or live near these community testing locations. To help ease this burden and provide greater accessibility, we will be offering a home testing solution to our associates first followed by other companies and organizations,” Lindholz added.
"As our country experiences an increase in COVID-19 cases, physical distancing, wearing protective masks and testing remains paramount to flattening the curve," said Jim Kirby, senior director of Kroger Health. "We know flexible, accessible testing options like home solutions that leverage telehealth technology are critical to accelerating America's reopening and recovery.”
The Kroger Health COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kit will initially be available in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia. Additional states will be added in the coming weeks.
Kroger Health launched public drive-thru and walk-up COVID-19 testing sites in April. Since then, Kroger Health has administered more than 100,000 tests across 19 states.
Here is how Kroger Health's COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kit works.
The home collection is performed under the supervision of a licensed healthcare professional. The process is simple and is available at no cost to eligible patients who meet established clinical criteria for likely COVID-19 infection or exposure, Kroger Health said.
Patients are provided access to a website where they answer screening questions, input their organization's benefit code and an individual code such as an employee ID, and complete a clinical assessment.
If a patient qualifies, a health care professional will issue a prescription and the home collection kit is shipped to their home within 24 to 48 hours.
The home collection kit includes a nasal swab, transport vial, instruction sheet, prepaid shipping label, and packing materials for return shipment of the sample to the laboratory.
Upon receipt of the home collection kit, a health care professional guides the home collection process via telehealth — a 2-way video chat. “The direct observation helps to ensure the proper technique is used for sample collection,” Kroger Health said. The patient then overnight ships their sample to the laboratory for processing, which will take 24 to 48 hours, on average.
If test results are negative for an active infection, results are released to the patient's electronic medical record portal. Alternatively, patients may be called if they do not consent to use of the portal. For a patient whose test result is positive, a health care professional will contact them via phone to provide a recommended course of care.
Test results will only be accessible to the patient and only shared with their organization if the patient authorizes the release of his or her results. All results are reported to government health agencies as required by law.