Louisiana Healthcare Connections, Quest Dignostics Team Up to Increase Access to COVID-19 Testing

Louisiana Healthcare Connections announced a collaboration with Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX) to increase access to real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) COVID-19 testing in critical areas of need in Louisiana.

Through this collaboration, Louisiana Healthcare Connections will facilitate the distribution of Quest COVID-19 test kits to Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), including CareSouth Medical and Dental in Baton Rouge and DePaul Community Health Centers in New Orleans. The FQHCs will conduct testing as part of a broader initiative to test individuals who are symptomatic and asymptomatic in Louisiana’s underserved communities.

“COVID-19 testing is a critical component in Louisiana’s efforts to curb this epidemic,” said Matthew Valliere, CEO of CareSouth. “Testing allows us to quickly identify and respond to cases while helping to prevent future outbreaks. We appreciate Louisiana Healthcare Connections and Quest Diagnostics for sharing our commitment to providing COVID-19 testing to our state’s underserved populations.”

“DePaul Community Health Centers is proud to have been selected to receive COVID-19 virus test kits, and applauds the efforts of Louisiana Healthcare Connections and Quest Diagnostics to combat this virus. Our inclusion in this process greatly aids our mission of helping underserved populations, and bodes well for ensuring that they do not miss this opportunity. This partnership demonstrates the local health care community’s willingness to join forces in times of need,” said Michael G. Griffin, president/CEO of DePaul Community Health Centers.

This collaboration leverages Louisiana Healthcare Connections’ network of critical safety net providers to ensure that testing capacity is routed to where it is needed most. Distribution of kits began May 6, and Quest Diagnostics will conduct the COVID-19 testing through its network of laboratories across the United States.

“As Louisiana works to flatten the curve of COVID-19, these tests are a critical need, especially at our state’s FQHCs and community health centers, which provide quality care to thousands of residents in underserved areas,” said Jamie Schlottman, CEO of Louisiana Healthcare Connections. “Collaborations like these allow us to do our part in making sure our state’s most vulnerable populations have access to testing services in the communities where they live and work.”

"Louisiana's Community Health Centers are literally serving on the front lines in the battle against COVID-19," said Gerrelda Davis, executive director of the Louisiana Primary Care Association. "Unfortunately, this pandemic has had a disproportionate toll on our state's underserved and minority populations. Our Community Health Center members, already positioned perfectly to serve these communities, have made it their mission to expand access to COVID-19 testing. With support from Louisiana Healthcare Connections and Quest Diagnostics, CareSouth and DePaul Community Health Centers will be able to expand their testing capacity and more efficiently contain the spread of this virus."