Kroger’s healthcare division is launching a program meant to offer a COVID-19 solution for companies looking to restart and maintain their business operations. Kroger Health has introduced COVIDCare Plus, an employer-focused health-and-wellness solution centered on its proprietary COVID-19 Home Collection Kit, which includes a self-administered test and includes virtual supervision by a licensed healthcare provider.
As case counts rise and demand for testing increases, providing adequate amounts of COVID-19 testing continues to be a challenge. According to the Centers for Disease Control, demand for testing has tripled while results are taking up to three weeks to deliver in the hardest-hit areas. Speed of reporting results is a critical component to help quell the spread of COVID-19.
"We know testing continues to be a critical pillar in the fight against COVID-19," said Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Health. "And yet, our country faces ongoing challenges to keep pace with demand. At Kroger Health, we are grateful to be part of the solution by providing employers with COVID-19 testing that has a short turnaround time. This is paramount to keeping American businesses open and people at work."
Kroger Health's COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kit includes a telehealth consultation provided at the time of specimen collection. Supervision of the collection process by a licensed healthcare professional improves the quality of the sample collected, increases accessibility, and reduces patient anxiety. Through Kroger Health's strategic partnership with CLIA-certified laboratory Gravity Diagnostics, testing can be administered comfortably at home, with results delivered in 24-48 hours. Samples are collected via mid-turbinate nasal swabs – the same process that Kroger Health has deployed at its COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites, where its multidisciplinary team has collectively administered 150,000 tests.
In addition to COVID-19 testing and management services, COVIDCare Plus will offer employers and their teams access to advanced clinical services like vaccinations, telehealth, and telenutrition. These services are focused on driving actionable behavior change that helps combat the larger crisis of chronic disease that affects nearly half of Americans. According to the 2020 White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health, 72% of Americans are either overweight or obese, and more than 100 million Americans suffer from diabetes or pre-diabetes. The study also states that poor diet is now the leading cause of poor health in the United States. Kroger Health's expertise in "food as medicine" combined with Kroger's position as America's largest grocery retailer enables a broad set of solutions that address health, wellness, and nutrition.
"We are solving for the pandemic while building for the epidemic," Lindholz said. "COVID-19 is our clear focus in the short term and we have a strong plan in place to help drive our country's recovery efforts. However, we know that – now more than ever – a focus on health and wellness needs to become an ongoing way of life for all of us. That's why we are committed to providing organizations with the services we know their employees and stakeholders need to stay healthy."