Hy-Vee plans to pay bonuses to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians participating in its new rapid antigen COVID-19 testing program.
Plans call for full-time pharmacists who administer the tests to receive a $500 bonus and part-time pharmacists and technicians administering the test to get a $250 bonus, Hy-Vee announced yesterday. The rapid antigen COVID-10 tests launched at the first 18 of a planned 47 pharmacy locations on Thursday.
Pharmacists and technicians performing the COVID-19 testing will receive all personal protective equipment, including scrubs and seasonal clothing, at the heated drive-up facilities in the stores’ parking lots, Hy-Vee said. The rapid antigen tests, are performed via nasal swab. Patients receive test results the same day, in as soon as one or two hours after completing the test, which will be offered in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
“Hy-Vee’s pharmacists and technicians are vital in the fight against this pandemic,” Chairman, CEO and President Randy Edeker said in a statement. “We are very much aware of the sacrifices every essential worker, especially those administering COVID-19 tests, must make as they go to work every day. We want to do everything we can to ensure their safety and wellbeing in addition to showing our appreciation for the role they play in this public health crisis.”
The pharmacy bonuses come in addition to $23.3 million in frontline appreciation bonuses paid to all retail employees to date, along with an upcoming 10% employee bonus on all hours worked for this year’s holiday season (from Dec. 21 to Jan. 10), Hy-Vee noted. The West Des Moines, Iowa-based food and drug retailer also offers all employees, including its pharmacists and technicians, affordable access to telehealth services, including mental health. The company will pay 100% of the costs for all full-time employees and their dependents who used the 24-hour virtual medical service. The chain, too, offers job protective leave of at least two weeks for employees who test positive for COVID-19 and/or are required by health officials to self-quarantine.
The rapid antigen tests add to the free molecular PCR COVID-19 tests that Hy-Vee now offers in drive-up sites at more than 180 of its pharmacy locations. Results from those tests are usually available in three to five business days.
To assist with testing and upcoming administration of COVID-19 vaccines, which began shipping in the United States for emergency use this weekend, Hy-Vee aims to hire more than 1,000 pharmacy technicians across its Midwestern market area. The new full- and part-time pharmacy techs will help support pharmacists at the company’s 270-plus pharmacies.