Agreement Brokered by The Rockefeller Foundation’s Public Charity RF Catalytic Capital Keeps Per-test Price Under $7, Commitments from States 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 delivering free at-home Covid-19 tests to at-risk communities, for four more months to meet the states’ ongoing testing demand. Funding commitments for Project ACT since its launch last year now total $33.2 million from Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, and New Mexico.
Project ACT, a turnkey public-private partnership, allows states to pay below-market costs for tests through agreements negotiated by RF Catalytic Capital Inc. (RFCC), The Rockefeller Foundation’s public charity. RFCC manages the negotiations with the private sector for all aspects of test production, ordering, logistics, and delivery, allowing states to continue to receive an all-in price of $6.23 per test, including home delivery, through partnerships with Amazon Web Services and CareEvolution, at about half the cost of the average U.S. retail price of $12 per test. The program has already delivered more than 4.5 million tests to households in its first year.
“We’re extending Project ACT because it’s proven to be extremely efficient at delivering free tests to the Americans who need them most, and because state health departments tell us they need it to continue to meet their ongoing testing demand,” said Mara Aspinall, Professor of Practice at Arizona State University’s College of Health Solutions, and Advisor 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 to empower Americans with the information they need to stay healthy.”
The six states currently participating in the program requested to continue Project ACT as the demand for tests in these states remains strong. The Rockefeller Foundation provided the initial $7.45 million in January 2022 to pilot Project ACT, and in June 2022 expanded the program, with RFCC serving as the cost aggregator for states to pool their resources. The existing agreement, which was set to expire at the end of February, will now continue through June 2023.
“Over the past year, Project ACT has shown that public-private partnerships can deliver positive public health outcomes nimbly and efficiently,” said Dominick J. Impemba, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer, The Rockefeller Foundation. “States are paying below-market prices and tests are being delivered quickly — from the day states sign up to participate, we’re able to set up online ordering, start processing orders, and deliver tests to mailboxes in under two weeks.”
Support for Project ACT from Participating States:
- “A positive test early in the course of your illness allows you to protect yourself by providing an opportunity to seek treatment earlier, likely reducing severe disease,” said Dr. Sameer Vohra, Illinois Department of Public Health Director. “We are grateful to The Rockefeller Foundation for partnering with us to make it possible for thousands of families in Illinois to have free access to at-home tests.”
- “Project ACT has helped us tap into a well-developed testing infrastructure to support Kansans in communities without ready access to free testing for Covid-19,” said Dr. Joan Duwve, State Health Officer, Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
- “Project ACT enables us to send free at-home tests directly to those in need, including in rural Maine where testing access is limited, while avoiding the logistical challenges of storing and distributing tens of thousands of tests,” said Jeanne Lambrew, Maine Health and Human Services Commissioner.
- “Project ACT is an outstanding business model for providing another testing tool in an efficient and effective manner to all households within the State of Michigan,” said Leonard Uller, Director of Covid-19 Testing for Michigan.
- “The price point is a game changer,” said Miranda Durham, New Mexico Medical Director for the Infectious Disease Bureau. “There is no question that having this resource helped us maintain testing during the surge.”
State health departments determine how many tests to purchase to ensure residents of target communities have access to tests. Target communities are those where the risk of contracting Covid-19 has been higher due to geographic challenges as well as structural and racial inequities. The most recent CDC data shows both hospitalizations and deaths from Covid-19 have been higher for Black and Latino Americans. Health departments identify these communities based on their own criteria, informed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Social Vulnerability Index, combined with state data on Covid-19 burden.
Since launching in 2020, RF Catalytic Capital has leveraged innovative financing solutions to help impact investors, businesses, and governments combine their resources to address gaps in financing and bring about transformational change. In addition to its work to keep test prices low for participating Project ACT states, RFCC projects include:
- Connecting the leading international scientific institutions to Global.health, an open-source technology platform enabling access to real-time data on infectious disease outbreaks;
- Providing funding to accelerate the World Bank’s work to expand low- and middle-income countries’ pandemic prevention and response programs;
- Launching the Periodic Table of Food Initiative to standardize food analysis and quantify the biochemical components of food to catalyze breakthroughs in nutrition and agriculture;
- Launching the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet to accelerate investment in green energy transitions and renewable power solutions in developing and emerging economies.
Eligible individuals in vulnerable communities can order free Covid-19 tests through www.AccessCovidTests.org. Each household will receive one kit with five tests, typically 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 flourish. We work to promote the well-being of humanity and make opportunity universal and sustainable. Our focus is on scaling renewable energy for all, stimulating economic mobility, and ensuring 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.
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