The Health Collaborative receives $18M for COVID-19 testing

The Health Collaborative receives $18M for COVID-19 testing
(Source: WAVE 3 News)

CINCINNATI - Hamilton County is ramping up its COVID-19 testing strategy thanks to a partnership between Hamilton County, The Health Collaborative and several of our region’s leading health and healthcare institutions.

Hamilton County Commissioners have awarded $18 million to The Health Collaborative to design and execute a testing strategy that includes reaching vulnerable populations, coordinating testing sites, establishing testing protocols, reporting of metrics and administering tests to those who work and/or live in Hamilton County with and without insurance.

The County released a Request for Proposals for COVID-19 Testing and Data collection using up to $19 million in CARES Act funding.

The Health Collaborative submitted the $18.1 million proposal that was the most advantageous to the project, taking into consideration pricing and other factors, to significantly increase testing capacity within Hamilton County and reach certain targeted populations.

The Health Collaborative’s partners, pending contractual agreement, include UC Medical Center; The Christ Hospital; Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Anderson Center; UC Health; University of Cincinnati Early Intervention Program; TriHealth; and Mercy Health.

This project includes several initiatives:

  • Expanding testing program to target populations, including:
  • residents and staff of congregate care facilities;
  • first responders and frontline workers such as caseworkers, in-home service providers, and other employees deemed essential;
  • Vulnerable and high-risk populations in Hamilton County.

The testing program will also be available to the broader general public if capacity is available and if public health guidance warrants.

  • Testing in response to outbreaks
  • Serological testing to determine the extent of previous infection
  • Data collection and integration

“This additional capacity will help remove barriers to access, particularly in traditionally underserved communities,” said Commission President Denise Driehaus. “The Health Collaborative has been a fantastic partner since the start of the pandemic in coordinating the regional response from the hospital network; I’m excited to partner again on this large scale testing initiative that will go a long way in helping us flatten the curve.”

“Increasing COVID -19 testing will help to relieve the fear of the unknown,” said Commission Vice President Stephanie Summerow Dumas. “There is already enough stress and anxiety dealing with this unprecedented moment. Testing is part of a combination of other strategies that the County is using to keep people safe.”

“Testing leads to quicker treatment and quicker control of the spread,” said Commissioner Victoria Parks. “A key priority in our partnership is data gathering to ensure vulnerable communities are receiving the testing they need.”

In the next several weeks, The Health Collaborative is tasked with developing a plan to track the number of individuals tested; positive and negative testing results; demographics, including age, gender, race and zip code; testing site locations; and breakdown of testing costs, including tests paid for by private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid versus those tests that were not covered.

“The Health Collaborative’s strength is in our ability to convene and connect the very best talent and resources to solve healthcare’s toughest challenges; this pandemic is no exception. But it’s at times like these I could not be more proud that I live and work in the greater Cincinnati area. Our hospitals, providers, public health and community organizations have all pulled together to ensure the best possible outcome and safety of our community. The Health Collaborative is proud to be a part of the healthcare fabric in this region and to lead this critical work for COVID-19 testing for Hamilton County,” shares Craig Brammer, President & CEO of The Health Collaborative.

Currently, Hamilton County is at red level four on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System’s four-tiered color-coded alert system that tracks indicators of COVID-19 spread in counties across the state.

Above press release provided by The Health Collaborative and Hamilton County