Indiana will be among a few states to offer the COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kit, which will have results confirmed in less than 72 hours, according to the Cincinnati-based company.
Kroger Health, the health care division of the Kroger Co., is partnering with Gravity Diagnostics, with plans to process more than 60,000 tests per week by the end of July.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency use authorization for the kits, according to a news release.
“The testing solution combines the safety and convenience of at-home sample collection with the expert guidance of a telehealth consultation to help improve the quality of the collection process,” according to the release.
The kits are first being made available to frontline Kroger workers, based on medical need. Gravity Diagnostics, a full-service clinical laboratory in Covington, Kentucky, and Kroger Health plan to quickly make the kits available to other companies and organizations in the coming weeks.
Gravity Diagnostics, which before the partnership had a goal of testing in Kentucky health care facilities, had processed over 250,000 COVID-19 samples as of July 1. It now is hiring more workers to getting new lab space since it is expanding its testing focus with Kroger Health. It has been working with Kroger Health on processing results from drive-thru testing.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the safety of our associates and our customers has remained our top priority,” Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Health, said in the news release. “Kroger Heath remains committed to helping people live healthier lives through our multi-disciplinary team of licensed, trained and experienced healthcare providers. 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.”
How it works
The home collection is performed under the supervision of a licensed health care professional. The process is available at no cost to eligible patients who meet established clinical criteria for likely COVID-19 infection or exposure.
• Patients will be provided access to a website where they will answer screening questions, input their organization’s benefit code and an individual code, like 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 24-48 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 by the patient, a health care professional guides the home collection process via telehealth — a two-way video chat. The direct observation helps to ensure the proper technique is used for sample collection.
• The patient will then overnight ship their sample to the laboratory for processing, which on average will take 24-48 hours.
• At the laboratory, the collection undergoes a molecular diagnostic test — a test that detects parts of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and can be used to diagnose active infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
• 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 call the patient 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.
“As our country experiences an increase in COVID-19 cases, physical distancing, wearing protective masks and testing remains paramount to flattening the curve,” Jim Kirby, senior director of Kroger Health, said in the release. “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 has been doing public drive-thru and walk-up COVID-19 testing sites, including in Fort Wayne, since April. Since then, Kroger Health has administered more than 100,000 tests across 19 states.