Long-term care pharmacy giant Omnicare entered into a partnership with the state of Pennsylvania to provide 50,000 COVID-19 tests for employees and workers in nursing homes, Keystone State health officials announced this week.
Omnicare, a subsidiary of retail pharmacy and health insurance giant CVS Health (NYSE: CVS), will start performing the tests free of charge next week, with a three-tiered priority system: Skilled nursing facilities with recent or ongoing outbreaks will receive the first shot at the testing, followed by SNFs with “a history of a resolved outbreak,” and then finally those with no cases.
The state of Pennsylvania will pay for the cost of the tests.*
The news comes after state health secretary Dr. Rachel Levine ordered the testing of all nursing home residents and staff in the state at least once by July 24.
“COVID-19 is a particularly challenging situation for congregate settings, particularly our nursing home facilities,” Levine said in a statement announcing the CVS Health-Omnicare agreement. “This partnership strengthens and increases access to ensure universal testing is completed in nursing homes, as required in the order issued earlier this month. It will provide us the opportunity to better address outbreaks and work to prevent future outbreaks in nursing home facilities.”
Omnicare, along with consumer pharmacy chains Rite Aid and Walmart, have also hosted testing sites for the general public around the state and elsewhere.
“At Omnicare, we are dedicated to providing outstanding service to our long-term care customers and their patients. Our COVID-19 testing solutions are a prime example of our capabilities, and a critical component of our broader response to the pandemic,” Omnicare president Jim Love said in a statement. “We are pleased to partner with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to increase access and availability to testing for these critically important long-term care facilities and their vulnerable patient populations.”
*Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story had a headline indicating that Omnicare was covering the cost of the tests; the state of Pennsylvania will supply funding for the initiative. SNN regrets the error.