Monoclonal antibody therapies offered to COVID-19 patients

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CLINTON — Upstate HomeCare is partnering with the National Home Infusion Association (NHIA) to bring outpatient monoclonal antibody therapies to patients with mild and moderate COVID-19 at high risk of developing severe disease.

Upstate HomeCare’s five locations have committed to participate in a program designed by NHIA that connects prescribers of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) with licensed, accredited home and specialty infusion providers. The NHIA COVID-19 Home Infusion Therapy (C-HIT) Program hosts an online listing and map of home infusion companies who have agreed to provide these important therapies to eligible individuals in their communities. NHIA will also collect utilization and clinical outcome data from home infusion providers for the purposes of sharing information about the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 mABs.

Monoclonal antibodies have been shown to be highly effective in preventing severe disease and death in high-risk individuals if the one-time infusion is administered early in the course of disease (within 10 days of symptom onset). They are also an important intervention for patients who cannot be vaccinated, or do not elicit a strong immune response to the vaccines.

Until recently, home administration of monoclonal antibodies for COVID-19 was not feasible due to the higher cost associated with the home setting. On May 6, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) addressed the issue by increasing the provider reimbursement for home infusion.

There are currently three products approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) through an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). The FDA recently revised the EUAs, expanding the clinical criteria of both therapies to allow for broader use in patients with conditions that place them at higher risk of advancing to severe COVID-19.

“Upstate HomeCare is proud to be part of the U.S. health care response to the pandemic in our community,” said CEO Greg LoPresti. “Decreasing hospital admissions is our first priority, and our pharmacists and nurses are ready to help those most in need. We look forward to working with prescribers to reach at-risk patients who can benefit from these very effective therapies.”

“While vaccinations increase and new cases of COVID-19 are trending downward, there is still a need to ensure high-risk individuals have access to effective COVID-19 treatments,” said Connie Sullivan, BSPharm, NHIA’s President and CEO.

“Through the data collected in an earlier pilot project focused on skilled facilities, NHIA was able to show that home infusion providers can improve access to treatments for COVID-19. With the increased payment for home-based COVID-19 treatments, our members will have a greater ability to increase utilization of these important therapies in the communities they serve,” Sullivan added.

ABOUT UPSTATE HOMECARE: Upstate HomeCare is a regional provider of home health care services, including pharmacy, infusion therapies, and specialty medications.Upstate HomeCare has five offices across New York: Albany, Utica, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, and headquartered in Clinton. The company was founded in 1985 and is celebrating its 36th year in business.Upstate HomeCare employs over 150 individuals, including pharmacists, nurses, respiratory therapists and many other support personnel.

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