Spectrum Health broadens scope of COVID-19 treatment

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The Spectrum Health mobile unit will regularly travel to COVID hot spots throughout West Michigan. Courtesy Spectrum Health

Spectrum Health is expanding access to monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapy and treatment of COVID-19 to patients in West Michigan.

The health system added a mobile treatment unit and expanded its overall service area for mAb therapy to aid more patients and provide equitable access for underserved communities. The mobile unit is expected to regularly change locations and will travel to COVID hot spots in West Michigan.

Spectrum Health now can treat up to 400 patients per week, though variance may occur depending on mAb supply. The therapy, which is administered through intravenous infusion, is the first COVID treatment granted emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for outpatient use. When administered within 10 days of symptoms, the treatment may decrease progression and help high-risk patients to avoid hospitalization and recover at home.

To schedule treatment, patients can call the Spectrum Health COVID-19 Infusion Clinic at (616) 391-0351. The team then will evaluate eligibility and supply and will schedule treatment at the mobile unit or Blodgett Hospital when possible.

A partnership between the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) spearheaded the initial mAb therapy expansion efforts. HHS invested $150 million on March 17 with the intent to reach and treat high-risk patients in underserved communities throughout the U.S. Spectrum Health was among the first to join the national effort.

“Spectrum Health is pleased to be part of this incredible collaboration to expand our monoclonal antibody program in West Michigan, particularly to our most vulnerable populations,” said Chad Tuttle, senior vice president of Spectrum Health West Michigan operations. “We are pleased to offer a mobile clinic that can bring this important treatment to more communities. This treatment may be life-changing for our patients, and we are hopeful that the supply of antibodies will allow us to treat as many people as possible.”

Antibodies are issued to Spectrum Health through federal and state supply distribution, which varies week to week. There currently is a national shortage leading to constraints for Spectrum Health and other health systems.

Through grassroots community outreach, the health system hopes to reach more individuals in disadvantaged communities, building on its efforts throughout the pandemic to reach such populations with information about COVID prevention, treatment and vaccine availability.

Spectrum Health first introduced mAb therapy in December 2020 at its Blodgett Hospital COVID-19 Infusion Clinic. The health system has treated more than 2,400 patients to date between Grand Rapids’ Blodgett Hospital clinic and the Spectrum Health Lakeland clinic in St. Joseph.

With the help of KPMG and sponsorship of HHS, the initiative now includes over 25 prototype models to increase access to mAb therapy in 16 states with more than 80 infusion locations.

More information on mAb therapy is at crushcovid.com.

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