Home infusion does its part

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Friday, May 22, 2020

BANNOCKBURN, Ill. – While much of the current focus around the coronavirus pandemic focuses on respiratory complications, home infusion providers have been busy doing their part to help hospitals “clear the decks” and free up hospital beds for COVID-19 patients, says Harriet Booker, COO at Option Care Health.

“We can work with them on a host of disease states to determine if the patient is suitable for home infusion,” she said, “and how quickly and safely we can get them discharged.”

Booker spoke with HME News recently about how Option Care Health is facing the health crisis head on and looking at innovations for the future of infusion care.

HME News: What sort of patients are you dealing with during this crisis?

Harriet Booker: Option Care Health stands ready to assist when hospitals experience patient capacity issues including freeing up beds in advance of COVID patients. In many instances, patients may be well enough to discharge but have complicating factors which require home infusion therapy. Or, we could have a healthy patient who contracts coronavirus and at the same time develops comorbid conditions like pneumonia or who happens to have previous underlying conditions, such as cardiovascular or GI disorders.

HME: As an infusion provider, did you feel well prepared to maintain infection control standards?

Booker: Since day 1, we have aligned ourselves very closely with the Centers for Disease Control and have daily calls with our teams to ensure that our infection control guidelines—from our pharmacy operations to our employee PPE—are aligned with CDC best practices. We feel extremely well prepared to protect the safety of our patients, our health care partners and our Option Care Health team.

HME: Have you find payers are willing to work with you during this crisis?

Booker: We work carefully with insurers to provide timely authorizations, for the often-complex compounded pharmacy medications we provide. We also collaborate closely with hospitals and physicians to safely and efficiently discharge patients as soon as they are ready to go home. We have leveraged our significant investment in telehealth technology to deliver expanded nursing care and are working with insurers on appropriate reimbursement for these innovative new ways to care for patients.

HME: Will COVID-19 have an impact on how infusion care is provided in the future?

Booker: There is that opportunity that innovation comes from necessity and our ability to get into the hospital system to provide (care) and teach patients has been limited. We have had good early success in doing that through video conference. I see no reason why that would go away.