Arkansas Health & Wellness, Arkansas Total Care and Quest Diagnostics Team Up to Increase Access to COVID-19 Testing in Underserved Communities

1,000 COVID-19 test kits will be distributed each week to Federally Qualified Health Centers in Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, AR: Arkansas Health & Wellness and Arkansas Total Care announced today a collaboration with Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX), the world’s leading provider of diagnostic information services, to increase access to real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) COVID-19 testing in critical areas of need in Arkansas. Through this collaboration, Arkansas Health & Wellness and Arkansas Total Care will facilitate the distribution of approximately 1,000 Quest COVID-19 test kits each week to Community Health Centers of Arkansas.  The FQHCs will conduct testing as part of a broader initiative to test persons who are symptomatic and asymptomatic in our underserved communities.

“I am delighted to hear of the partnership between Arkansas Health and Wellness (AHW), Arkansas Total Care and the Community Health Centers of Arkansas (CHCA) to increase our real-time testing capacity in Arkansas,” said Governor Asa Hutchinson.  “This private sector partnership plays an important role in our effort to reach 60,000 tests per month. This initiative ensures Arkansans will have access to critical testing and assist us in moving forward to our goal of Phase 2 and beyond. Together, we will keep our families safe and emerge stronger than ever.”

This collaboration leverages the plan’s extensive network of critical safety net providers to ensure that testing capacity is routed to where it is needed most. As part of the collaboration, Arkansas Health and Wellness and Arkansas Total Care will provide oversight and training to ensure test kits are received and processed efficiently. Distribution of kits will begin in May, and Quest Diagnostics will conduct the COVID-19 testing through its network of laboratories across the United States.

“Collaborations like these allow us to leverage our capabilities to do our part in making sure our communities, including those who need it most, have access to the health care services they need,” said John Ryan, President and CEO, of Arkansas Health & Wellness, Arkansas Total Care.

LaShannon Spencer, CEO of Community Health Centers of Arkansas (CHCA), has been a strong advocate for partnering with entities to improve access for some of the most vulnerable populations around the state of Arkansas. “COVID-19 has impacted nearly every corner of the state and impacted many lives for years to come. Every day is filled with more changes of how we are to live and work. Even though the way in which medicine is practiced will change, partnerships with key business entities like Arkansas Health & Wellness and Arkansas Total Care will be critical for our future. That’s why I value such partnerships with each of these Arkansas-based health plans.  “I am pleased to see Arkansas Health & Wellness and Arkansas Total Care supporting targeted statewide testing for our health centers. It is a key first step and an important investment in future sustainability in our rural health system,” said LaShannon Spencer.

Arkansas Health & Wellness/Arkansas Total Care members are encouraged to contact the Community Health Centers of Arkansas at 1-833-508-0774 for additional information about testing. Members can also find more information about COVID-19 and how Arkansas Health & Wellness can support them at ARHealthWellness.com.

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