Select Health Mart pharmacies to roll out COVID-19 testing

Sandra Levy
Senior Editor
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McKesson's Health Mart is rolling out COVID-19 testing nationwide, beginning next week. The company said that select pharmacies serving low-income areas and vulnerable populations would begin offering tests in partnership with healthcare technology company eTrueNorth.

“Americans trust their local pharmacy. In fact, 95% of the U.S. population lives within 5 miles of a pharmacy,” said Coral May, CEO and president of eTrueNorth. “By leveraging this trust and providing the needed technology infrastructure, eTrueNorth hopes to materially contribute to meet the need for testing. We are redeploying our proven delivery model to partner with pharmacies in a drive-thru testing model to test more and more Americans.”

eTrueNorth already is enabling new drive-thu COVID-19 testing sites in partnership with a growing list of national pharmacy chains that also include Walmart and Kroger. The companies said work on this public-private partnership began on March 13 and includes funding by the Department of Health and Human Services. The partnership is opening new parking lot sites in towns and cities across the nation daily.

May said that while the exact process varies by pharmacy brand, generally individuals visit a website to select drive-thru testing locations. They answer a simple series of qualifying questions, and if their symptoms meet Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, they are issued a voucher, as well as a scheduled date and time to arrive for testing. The voucher system manages the pre- and post-test process. Once onsite, individuals self-administer a nasal swab in their vehicles in a drive-thru or similar model. There is no testing in stores.

eTrueNorth then contracts with certified laboratories for testing and communicates results back to the individual and state health departments. The local pharmacy brands provide on-site clinical staffing.

“eTrueNorth is foremost a company that supports local pharmacies. The effort that local pharmacists are making to provide testing to Americans cannot be understated,” May said. “Whether pharmacists are working to support drive-thru COVID-19 testing or working with Americans at the pharmacy desk, they are front-line healthcare professionals that are providing critical support.”