The Biden Administration announced that they will be making 50 Million COVID-19 at-home testing kits available – free of charge – for distribution by Rural Health Clinics and Federally Qualified Health Centers to the communities they serve.
In September, President Biden announced that his administration was going to make 25 Million at-home COVID testing kits available free-of-charge to individuals receiving care at Federally Qualified Health Centers. National Association of Rural Health Clinic (NARHC) Executive Director Bill Finerfrock wrote a letter to President Biden on September 24 expressing disappointment that a similar effort was not being undertaken for patients living in rural underserved communities served by RHCs.
In the letter, Finerfrock said,
“While this is welcome news for the millions of low-income uninsured individuals who receive care from Community Health Centers, it ignores the millions of individuals who reside in rural, underserved communities who receive care from Federally Certified Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) or Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs).
We commend our CHC colleagues for the work they are doing to help meet the COVID testing needs of underserved individuals residing in urban areas, but it is Rural Health Clinics and Critical Access Hospitals that are meeting those needs in underserved rural America.
NARHC looks forward to working with your Administration to ensure that individuals living in rural underserved areas have access to free in-home COVID testing kits through their federally certified Rural Health Clinic.”
NARHC would like to thank the Biden Administration for recognizing that RHCs are an important part of our nation’s health care safety net and that RHCs play a vital role at ensuring access to quality health care for individuals living in rural underserved areas.
NARHC has been in touch with Administration officials about the distribution of these kits and how best to get these at-home testing kits into the hands of individuals living in rural underserved areas. The details on the distribution plan are still being worked out and NARHC anticipates being involved in these deliberations. However, it may be several months before the Testing Kits become available for distribution. As we learn more about how and when RHCs can access these COVID testing kits, we will share that information with the RHC community as soon as possible.