ALBUQUERQUE — Access to COVID-19 testing can be challenging, especially for underserved populations in rural areas of New Mexico. To help with access issues, Blue Cross and Blue Shield New Mexico (BCBSNM) has donated 7,848 at-home COVID-19 testing kits to three local organizations for free distribution statewide.
Organizations receiving kits include Bethel Community Storehouse, a nonprofit food and clothing distribution center in Moriarty; Amador Health Center, a medical clinic in Las Cruces, and Premier Medical Group in Albuquerque, which provides COVID-19 testing and vaccinations throughout New Mexico.
Additionally, based on current COVID-19 trends, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is planning for the federal public health emergency (PHE) for COVID-19 to expire May 11, which means over-the-counter COVID-19 tests could become more challenging to find for many New Mexicans.
“It’s wonderful that BCBSNM is making these tests available,” said Mary Hernandez, northwest regional vaccine coordinator for Premier Medical Group, which is receiving about 4,000 tests. “People are going to get scared with the end of the PHE and will wonder what that means for them or their child. Knowing resources are still available to them, that not everything is coming to an end, will be crucial.”
“Our rural and tribal areas are especially vulnerable, and BCBSNM is committed to ensuring access to quality health care,” said Janice Torrez, BCBSNM President. “To achieve this, we recognize that partnering with agencies at the frontlines of at-risk populations is the best way to have the greatest impact.”
At-home antigen tests, which take 15 minutes to complete, offer a convenient way for people to determine whether they are infected with COVID-19. Since people who do not have symptoms can still spread the virus, testing remains critical to safeguarding New Mexico communities.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico is the largest commercial health insurer in New Mexico with 700,000 New Mexicans carrying a Blue Cross and Blue Shield card. Since 1940, BCBSNM has been committed to promoting the health and wellness of its members and communities through accessible, cost-effective, quality health care. BCBSNM is a Division of Health Care Service Corporation, the country’s largest customer-owned health insurer and fourth largest health insurer overall. Health Care Service Corporation is a Mutual Legal Reserve Company and an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.