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Antibody pilot mobilizes home infusion providers 

Antibody pilot mobilizes home infusion providers 

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Upstate HomeCare is among the providers that recently began participating in a pilot program to get monoclonal antibody therapy to patients in skilled nursing and long-term care facilities, where COVID-19 is spreading quickly. 

The pilot, part of Operation Warp Speed, is a partnership between the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Home Infusion Association. Option Care Health is also participating in the pilot. 

“In essence, (the government said), ‘Let’s mobilize—private and public—to help get this into the hands of people likely to make this successful,” said Greg LoPresti, CEO of Upstate HomeCare. “Hospitals are getting hit hard and we need to do our part, fast and furious.” 

Upstate HomeCare partnered with Nascentia Health, a local health care services provider, to provide the therapy, a labor-intensive process that can take up to three hours. Upstate HomeCare does the intake, and mixes and delivers the drug; and then either Upstate HomeCare or Nascentia administers it, depending on the facility, and observes the patient for an hour.  

Providers can bill about $310 per administration of the drug, which is donated by the government, but that must cover all costs, including pharmacy services to receive and prepare the drug, supplies and PPE, says Connie Sullivan, president and CEO of NHIA. 

“The challenge with home infusion remains the same: the reimbursement rates don’t fully cover the costs,” she said. 

Despite inadequate reimbursement, LoPresti has no hesitation about offering the therapy, which gained attention when it was used to treat high profile patients, including President Trump. 

“We don’t make money on this,” he said. “I give CMS credit, they acted fast, but the reimbursement needs to be higher. But we’re a mission-based company and COVID is part of that mission. It’s the right thing to do.” 


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