Indianapolis doctor says his $100 drive-thru coronavirus testing service is legit

Dr. Dorian Kenleigh standing outside his "mobile testing lab." (WTHR)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — 13 Investigates, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and even the FBI have all reached out to a local doctor to see if his plans to offer a private, drive-thru cornavirus testing service are real or some kind of scam.

“Yeah, it’s been pretty intense, especially when you get a call from the FBI,” Dr. Dorian Kenleigh told WTHR Tuesday afternoon, just a few minutes after talking to an FBI special agent. “He said, ‘I want to be clear, we’re keeping an eye on you.’”

Kenleigh, a licensed general practice physician who announced his coronavirus testing plans on Facebook a few days ago, said he understands the scrutiny. But he believes the need for more accessible COVID-19 testing has created a huge demand, and he is simply trying to provide what he calls a community service.

“I personally felt it’s better to offer something than to sit around and do nothing,” Kenleigh said. “This is a real health visit. This is not somebody out there selling COVID tests.”

Dr. Dorian Kenleigh showing his medical license. (WTHR)

What he’s offering

The doctor plans to offer COVID-19 drive-up testing in a parking lot at the Circle City Industrial Complex (1400 East 12th Street) on the east side of Indianapolis. Customers will be asked to complete paperwork that includes their medical history and other personal information before receiving a consultation and verbal health exam.

Those who truly need a COVID-19 test will have the opportunity to get one, which will be administered while they sit in their car. Each test will cost $100 — payable by cash, check or credit card — that patients can then submit to their health insurer for a requested reimbursement.

“About 40 percent of the people that came through on Saturday when we first tried this didn’t need any test at all, and I told them to just go home,” Kenleigh explained. “A lot of people just need someone to reassure them they’re OK, so there’s no reason to take $100 from someone to tell them that.”

He said the testing process, which includes inserting a swab into the nasal cavity of a patient, is not pleasant.

“I’m not going to sugar coat it. But it’s over fast. It lasts about 15 seconds,” Kenleigh said, adding that most drive-up tests will take about 15 or 20 minutes, including the consultation.

He plans to offer the testing from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, with hopes of continuing the service for as long as it’s needed.

COVID-19 testing has been hard to come by for most Hoosiers. It’s been reserved for those who’ve been hospitalized with serious coronavirus symptoms or for first responders.

Kenleigh is trying to change that.

“Stolen” idea

The doctor, a Pittsburg native who got his Indiana medical license five years ago after graduating from the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, said he is not the first physician to offer drive-up coronavirus testing in the face of the rapidly-spreading pandemic.

He said he “stole the idea” from a doctor in California, who gave him advice on how to obtain testing supplies and to work with a certified lab to get test results quickly.

Kenleigh has been able to do what many local clinics and hospitals have not been able or willing to accomplish: get the materials needed to offer COVID-19 tests for the general public.

“That’s the part that really surprises me,” he told WTHR. “I’m one doctor, working out of my living room and my car, and I was able to get a testing program online in five days. So if I can do it, I’d like to think there’s a place out that can do this way better than me. That’s really my goal and what I want to see somebody do. I want this idea to be stolen again and improved upon so people who really need to be tested can have the access they need.”

“I just think we need to do our job, and getting tests for the people who need them.”

He has partnered with AIT Laboratories in Denton, Texas, to perform the testing. Kenleigh said demographic information about positive tests are forwarded by the lab to the Indiana State Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, which are both actively monitoring the spread of COVID-19.

Results from each test are expected back within 48 hours (a little longer if a weekend is involved) and the doctor said he plans to notify each patient of the results.

He is willing to do house calls to test patients at their homes, and he said he is willing to “figure something out” for those who cannot afford the $100 fee.

“I just think we need to do our job, and getting tests for the people who need them is, I think, our job right now,” he said.

Where and when the drive-thru tests are happening

April 1, 2 and 3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Circle City Industrial Complex parking lot located at 1400 E. 12th Street, Indianapolis.

April 5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Lazarus Living located at 4008 E. New York St, Indianapolis.

For more information, click here.