Wellstar Health System, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), announced today that it is expanding access to COVID-19 monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapies at several of its eleven existing infusion locations, with Wellstar Cherokee Health Park being the first Wellstar facility to launch this program. Wellstar is the first healthcare provider in Georgia to join the mAb Health Equity Initiative.
Wellstar Health System is first expanding access to the mAb infusion treatment for eligible patients at Wellstar Cherokee Health Park, effective October 29, with additional locations rolling out in the coming weeks. With the expansion, Wellstar will be able to substantially increase the total number of patients receiving the therapy. Patients can receive the mAb treatment at the Wellstar Cherokee Health Park location seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. To confirm eligibility for the treatment and book an appointment, patients should contact 770-956-STAR (770-956-7827).
If administered within 10 days of the onset of COVID-19 symptoms, the one-time therapy – administered through infusion – has been shown to be highly effective in neutralizing the virus and preventing symptoms from worsening. MAb treatment is used to help prevent the progression of the disease that might otherwise require hospitalization for people who are at high risk for developing severe COVID-19 illness and have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus or are unvaccinated and have been exposed to someone who has tested positive.
“Our ability to meet the demand for COVID-19 treatment is a critical step in combatting the pandemic and this partnership supports our mission of enhancing the health and well-being of the communities we serve,” said Snehal Doshi, senior vice president of Ancillary and Support Services, Wellstar Health System. “Being able to offer this treatment to more patients provides hope, recovery, and vital access to COVID-19 healthcare options.”
On March 17, 2021, HHS announced it was investing $150 million to increase access to mAb therapy for high-risk patients in underserved and disadvantaged communities across the country. With support from KPMG LLP, HHS is developing new prototype models for expanding access to mAb treatment, leveraging an existing network of healthcare partners, including Wellstar.
Wellstar joins a growing list of mAb therapy providers supported by KPMG and sponsored by HHS as part of the federal effort to help end COVID-19, especially in underserved communities across the country. In addition to the expansion of several existing mAb therapy programs at Wellstar, nearly 30 prototype models have been established or expanded at over 85 infusion sites in 18 states.
The therapy is the first COVID-19 treatment granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for outpatient use. A Phase 3 clinical trial showed that the antibody therapy reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by up to 70% in patients who received the drug intravenously compared to those who received a placebo.
To be eligible for mAb treatment, patients must meet the EUA definition of “high risk.” The FDA Emergency Use Authorization provides additional information on eligibility for mAb treatment. Treatment is offered regardless of immigration status, health insurance coverage, or ability to pay.