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When details of the “test to treat” initiative first emerged, it appeared that urgent care would once again be left out in the cold, unable to test patients for COVID-19 and then provide an immediate prescription and treatment on site; as originally detailed, it appeared that right was going to be conferred mainly to pharmacies. Then, as JUCM News readers know, the Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) clarified that urgent care centers who meet the relevant criteria may also qualify to participate. Well, with another week gone by comes another clarification that only pharmacies who have a clinic or a provider on site will be able to take part, vastly reducing the number of drugstore locations patients can choose from. In fact, looking at the entire marketplace, the numbers of potential locations participating favor urgent care strongly; while there are an estimated 4,000 exam rooms in U.S. retail clinics, urgent care centers can boast approximately 70,000, all in locations fully staffed with clinicians and support personnel. The latest clarification may put to rest—for now—concerns that pharmacists are on the brink of being granted widespread prescribing privileges. JUCM has been covering that issue for some time. You can read Pharmacists with Prescribing Privileges: A New Class of Medical Practitioner and Prescribing Pharmacists: Cheaper and More Accessible Than Urgent Care? In our archive right now.

Update: Clarity on ‘Test to Treat’ for COVID-19 Continues to Be a Moving Target