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04/29/2022

Kroger Health supports federal ‘Test to Treat’ initiative

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Kroger Health is providing omnichannel COVID-19 testing and treatment services.

The healthcare division of The Kroger Co. is providing omnichannel COVID-19 testing and treatment services.

Kroger Health is supporting the Biden-Harris Administration's "Test to Treat" initiative for patients exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, both in-store and online. Customers can receive COVID-19 tests at its 225 The Little Clinic locations in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, and Virginia.

Following a positive test, and if otherwise clinically appropriate, at The Little Clinic, customers will receive an antiviral prescription which may be filled at a Kroger banner pharmacy. "Test to Treat" is also available across all 50 U.S. states via telehealth services provided by The Little Clinic for customers with transportation or other access barriers.

Consumers exhibiting symptoms or concerned with exposure to the COVID-19 virus may use any of the 13 FDA-authorized at-home tests available to participate in an observed self-test with a medical professional. Following a positive test, and if otherwise clinically appropriate, The Little Clinic will provide an antiviral prescription, or if negative, the customer will be provided an appropriate treatment plan according to diagnosis.

Consumers may schedule a telehealth appointment by visiting the COVID-19 treatment section of the Kroger website and selecting "COVID Virtual Visit" from the scheduler. The customer must acquire one of the 13 available home test kits in advance of their appointment, with most test kits available for online order and delivery.

Kroger Health began providing the COVID-19 vaccine nationwide across its 2,200 pharmacies and 220 clinics in December 2020. COVID-19 therapeutics are available at all Kroger banner pharmacies.

"We understand Americans are tired of this virus and its impact on our lives. We are all eager to move forward,” said Dr. Marc Watkins, Kroger chief medical officer. “However, we owe it to our families, friends, and communities to get tested if symptomatic and seek treatment when appropriate. As always, receiving the manufacturer-recommended doses required for full vaccination and booster doses recommended by age and condition remain our most effective tools in controlling the spread of the disease."

Kroger encourages employee vaccinations
Kroger’s COVID-19 remediation efforts also extend internally. In December 2021, the grocer ended eligibility for unvaccinated workers to receive up to two weeks paid emergency leave if they become infected with COVID-19. The emergency leave policy was put into place in 2020, when vaccines were unavailable.

Also, as of Jan. 1, 2022, Kroger is charging a $50 monthly fee to unvaccinated salaried workers and managers who are enrolled in a company health care plan. Unionized workers and non-union hourly workers will not be charged that fee.

Kroger will still offer various leave options for employees who contract the virus, including earned paid time off and the ability to apply for unpaid leave. The company will continue to incentivize workers to get vaccinated, giving a $100 bonus to all fully vaccinated employees.

Based in Cincinnati, Kroger operates 2,800 stores, including more than 100 stores in Southeast Texas and Louisiana, under a variety of banners across the U.S., including Kroger, Fred Meyer, Ralphs, Dillons, Smith's, King Soopers, Fry's, QFC, City Market, Owen's, Jay C, Pay Less, Baker's, Gerbes, Harris Teeter, Pick 'n Save, Metro Market, and Mariano's.