Deal brokered by Rockefeller Foundation public charity RF Catalytic Capital keeps price per test under $7, states’ pledges now total $33.2 million
NEW YORK | February 15, 2023 – The Rockefeller Foundation announced today that it has reached an agreement to extend Project Access Covid Tests (Project ACT), a program that provides free home Covid-19 testing to at-risk communities, for another four months to meet state demand test. Funding commitments for Project ACT since its launch last year now total $33.2 million from Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico and North Carolina.
Project ACT, a turnkey public-private partnership, allows states to pay below-market costs for testing through deals negotiated by RF Catalytic Capital Inc. (RFCC), the Rockefeller Foundation’s public charity . RFCC handles negotiations with the private sector for all aspects of test manufacturing, ordering, logistics and delivery, allowing states to continue receiving a flat rate price of $6.23 per test, including home delivery, through partnerships with Amazon Web Services and CareEvolution, at about half the average US retail price of $12 per test. The program has already delivered more than 4.5 million tests to families in its first year.
“We are extending the ACT project because it has proven extremely effective at providing free testing to Americans who need it most and because state health departments tell us they need it to continue to meet their ongoing demand for testing,” he said. Mara Aspinall, a professor of practice in Arizona State University’s College of Health Solutions and a consultant to the Rockefeller Foundation. “As new, highly transmissible variants of Covid-19 continue to evolve, we know that testing is the most effective tool we have for providing Americans with the information they need to stay healthy.”
The six states currently participating in the program have asked to continue the ACT project as demand for testing in these states remains strong. The Rockefeller Foundation provided the first $7.45 million in January 2022 to pilot the ACT project and expanded the program in June 2022, with RFCC serving as a cost aggregator for states to pool their resources. The existing deal, which was due to expire at the end of February, will now run until June 2023.
“Over the past year, Project ACT has demonstrated that public-private partnerships can deliver positive public health outcomes in an agile and efficient way,” he said Dominick J. Impemba, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer, The Rockefeller Foundation. “States pay below-market prices and tests are delivered quickly – from the day states sign up to participate, we are able to set up online orders, start processing orders and deliver tests to mailboxes in less than two weeks”.
Support for the ACT project by participating States:
- “A positive test early in the course of your disease allows you to protect yourself by providing an opportunity to seek treatment sooner, possibly reducing severe disease,” he said Dr. Sameer Vohra, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. “We are grateful to the Rockefeller Foundation for partnering with us to enable thousands of Illinois families to have unrestricted access to home testing.”
- “The ACT project has helped us tap into a well-developed testing infrastructure to support Kansans in communities without ready access to free Covid-19 testing,” he said Dr. Joan Duwve, State Health Officer, Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
- “The ACT project allows us to send free home tests directly to those who need them, even in rural Maine where access to tests is limited, while avoiding the logistical challenges of storing and distributing tens of thousands of tests,” he has declared Jeanne Lambrew, Maine Commissioner of Health and Human Services.
- “Project ACT is a great business model to efficiently and effectively deliver another testing tool to all households within the State of Michigan,” he said Leonard Uller, director of Covid-19 testing for Michigan.
- “The price point is a game changer,” he said Miranda Durham, New Mexico’s medical director for the Office of Infectious Diseases. “There’s no question that having this asset has helped us maintain testing during the surge.”
- “Partnering with Project ACT helps us improve access to testing, especially in our communities with historical lack of access to health care,” he said Secretary Kody H. Kinsley, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
State health departments determine how many tests to buy to ensure residents of target communities have access to tests. The target communities are those where the risk of contracting Covid-19 has been greatest due to geographic challenges and structural and racial inequalities. The most recent data from the CDC shows that both hospitalizations and deaths from Covid-19 have been higher for blacks and Latinos. Health departments identify these communities based on their own criteria, informed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Social Vulnerability Index, combined with state data on the COVID-19 burden.
Since launching in 2020, RF Catalytic Capital has leveraged innovative financing solutions to help investors, businesses and governments pool their resources to close funding gaps and drive transformative change. In addition to its work to keep test prices low for Project ACT participating states, RFCC projects include:
Eligible people in vulnerable communities can order free Covid-19 tests through www.AccessCovidTests.org. Each family will receive a kit with five tests, usually within a week of ordering.
About the Rockefeller Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation is a pioneering philanthropy built on collaborative partnerships at the frontiers of science, technology and innovation that enable individuals, families and communities to thrive. We work to promote the well-being of humanity and make opportunities universal and sustainable. Our goal is to increase renewable energy for all, stimulate economic mobility and ensure equitable access to health care and nutritious food. For more information, sign up for our newsletter at rockefellerfoundation.org and follow us on Twitter @RockefellerFdn.
Contact with the media
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