Hy-Vee has begun offering test-to-treat COVID-19 services at all of its pharmacies across eight Midwestern states.
West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee said yesterday that its program will use Pfizer’s Paxlovid COVID-19 antiviral medication to help treat mild-to-moderate cases of infection in certain patients at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19.
To be prescribed Paxlovid, patients must test positive for COVID-19. Hy-Vee noted that selected pharmacies provide rapid PCR COVID-19 testing (available by appointment only) with fast same-day test results, while all Hy-Vee Pharmacy locations offer over-the-counter, at-home COVID-19 tests, which may be available free to patients, depending on their medical coverage.
After receiving a positive test result, patients will be screened by a Hy-Vee pharmacist to determine their eligibility for Paxlovid. COVID-19 antiviral patients are required to wear a mask when in the store. To facilitate the screening process, Hy-Vee is recommending that patients provide date/proof of a positive test result; electronic or printed health records (less than 12 months old) for the pharmacist to review for kidney or liver problems; and a list of all medications they are taking to screen for potentially serious interactions with Paxlovid. Treatment with the antiviral begin within five days of when symptoms started.
Launched in March by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Test to Treat is designed to provide quick access to free treatment for COVID-19. Through this program, people can get tested and — if the results are positive and treatments are appropriate for them — receive a prescription from a health care provider and have their prescription filled, all at one location. HHS said these “One-Stop Test to Treat” sites are available at hundreds of locations nationwide, including pharmacy-based clinics, Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA)-supported federally-qualified health centers (FQHCs) and long-term care facilities.
Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration authorized state-licensed pharmacists to prescribe Paxlovid to eligible patients ages 12+, with certain limitations, Hy-Vee reported.
The Midwestern grocer began providing COVID-19 antivirals — including Merck’s Molnupiravir as well as Pfizer’s Paxlovid — at Hy-Vee pharmacies across its market area, with the type of COVID-19 antiviral available depending on pharmacy location. Molnupiravir is approved only to treat mild-to-moderate cases of COVID-19 in adults ages 18 and older who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19.
Health care is a pillar of Hy-Vee’s offering, and the company has steadily expanded its array of services. In December, the company unveiled RedBox Rx, a new subsidiary that provides low-cost telehealth and online pharmacy services nationwide. Earlier, in August, the grocer unveiled Hy-Vee Medicare Aisle, an agency offering Medicare coverage plans. The company’s in-store and freestanding pharmacies already provide a full range of pharmacy care, immunization and wellness services. In addition, Hy-Vee has more than 70 in-store retail health clinics; owns and operates two specialty pharmacies, Amber Pharmacy and Hy-Vee Pharmacy Solutions; and in late 2020 launched its own pharmacy benefits manager (PBM), Vivid Clear Rx. And in July, Hy-Vee appointed Dr. Daniel Fick as chief medical officer, a newly created position.
Overall, Hy-Vee operates more than 285 stores in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin.