May 5, 2021
Allison Hydzik, UPMC
Suzanne Sakson, Heritage Valley Health System
UPMC and Heritage Valley Partner to Improve Access to COVID-19 Treatment
PITTSBURGH, May 5, 2021 – UPMC and Heritage Valley Health System are partnering to make an outpatient COVID-19 treatment more widely available in western Pennsylvania.
Monoclonal antibody treatment reduces the risk of death and the need for hospitalization in people who receive it soon after being diagnosed with COVID-19. The health systems will pool their supply of monoclonal antibodies and use the extensive UPMC network of infusion centers to provide Heritage Valley patients with the treatment.
“This treatment has potential to drastically cut the number of people in our communities who get hospitalized with COVID-19 complications and reduce deaths from this disease,” said Donald M. Yealy, M.D., chief medical officer at UPMC. “It is most effective if given within 10 days of diagnosis, and the sooner the better. By partnering with Heritage Valley, we will improve access for patients.”
Credit: UPMC Donald M. Yealy, M.D.
“Heritage Valley has helped ensure that COVID-19 testing and vaccines are available in the community, and we would like to expand our patients’ opportunity to receive COVID-19 outpatient treatment, in collaboration with UPMC,” said Michael Cratty, M.D., Ph.D., chief medical officer at Heritage Valley Health System. “Monoclonal antibodies provide an early treatment opportunity for COVID-19 to those with elevated risk factors. Our collaboration with UPMC expands community access to this important treatment.”
Credit: HVHS Michael Cratty, M.D., Ph.D.
Monoclonal antibodies are a type of medication that seeks out the COVID-19 virus in a person’s body and blocks it from infecting their cells and replicating. The treatment is given through a one-time intravenous infusion, usually at an outpatient infusion center.
Credit: UPMC What are monoclonal antibodies?
Patients currently eligible for the treatment are those at a higher risk of a poor outcome from COVID-19, including people 65 or older, those who are obese or those with conditions such as diabetes or lung disease. Younger adults and children over 12 with certain conditions, including asthma, also may be eligible.
Credit: UPMC Monoclonal Antibody Eligibility Requirements (click image for high-res version)
UPMC has treated nearly 2,400 patients at 18 infusion centers across Pennsylvania and in New York and Maryland. The treatment also is offered to homebound people through a home-infusion service, and in emergency departments, nursing homes and behavioral health centers in the UPMC system.
Heritage Valley is supplying UPMC with its allotment of monoclonal antibodies from the federal government and will refer qualifying patients to UPMC infusion centers, though the patients will remain under the care of their Heritage Valley physicians.
The U.S. supply of monoclonal antibodies is taxpayer-funded and the medication is given without charge to the institutions that administer it. Currently, UPMC Health Plan waives copayments and deductibles for administering the treatment.
Patients and providers can find out more about monoclonal antibody treatment by visiting upmc.com/AntibodyTreatment or by calling 866-804-5251.
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A $23 billion health care provider and insurer, Pittsburgh-based UPMC is inventing new models of patient-centered, cost-effective, accountable care. The largest nongovernmental employer in Pennsylvania, UPMC integrates 92,000 employees, 40 hospitals, 700 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites, and a 4 million-member Insurance Services Division, the largest medical insurer in western Pennsylvania. In the most recent fiscal year, UPMC contributed $1.4 billion in benefits to its communities, including more care to the region’s most vulnerable citizens than any other health care institution, and paid more than $800 million in federal, state, and local taxes. Working in close collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, UPMC shares its clinical, managerial, and technological skills worldwide through its innovation and commercialization arm, UPMC Enterprises, and through UPMC International. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside among the nation’s best hospitals in many specialties and ranks UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on its Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals. For more information, go to UPMC.com.
About Heritage Valley Health System
Heritage Valley Health System is a $535 million integrated delivery network providing comprehensive health care for residents of Allegheny, Beaver, Butler and Lawrence counties in Pennsylvania; eastern Ohio; and the panhandle of West Virginia. In partnership with 3,800 employees and more than 600 physicians, Heritage Valley offers a broad range of medical, surgical and diagnostic services at its three hospitals: Heritage Valley Sewickley, Heritage Valley Beaver and Heritage Valley Kennedy; in 55 physician offices; and more than 21 community satellite facilities. For more information about Heritage Valley Health System, please visit www.heritagevalley.org.