Additional Information for COVID-19 Early Treatment Centers
4/29/2022 4:00:00 AM
Earlier this week, FHA had a conversation with Dr. Kenneth Scheppke, MD, Deputy Secretary with the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) as a follow-up to the recent virtual meeting we hosted with Dr. Scheppke to discuss the role Urgent Care Centers, and other providers can play in COVID testing and the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19. As COVID-19 becomes more endemic to local communities, FDOH is aspiring to support one stop access for testing, treatment, and preventative therapies within urgent care centers to include, when possible, the administration of antibody therapies. In addition to adding sites that can provide rapid testing and prescription of oral medications for COVID-19, FDOH would like to identify enough provider locations for antibody infusion therapy to allow that medication option to be routinely available within a one hour travel time for Floridians. FDOH has worked with primary care practices, urgent care centers, cancer hospitals, and transplant centers to increase access to testing, treatment and preventative therapeutics for COVID-19 to decrease demand on emergency departments and prevent hospitalizations.
The concept of early treatment centers focuses on providing rapid testing, treatment and pre-exposure prophylaxis via:
- Written prescription for Paxlovid and information of availability at a local pharmacy
- Dispensing Paxlovid on-site (Requires dispensing license)
- Administering intramuscular injections of Evusheld as pre-exposure prophylaxis
- Administering infusion therapy of currently approved monoclonal antibodies (e.g. Bebtelovimab)
FDOH has provided an overview document of therapeutics authorized or approved for the prevention of COVID-19 infection or treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19. (Note that Sotrovimab, while listed on the FDOH document, is no longer FDA EUA approved in locations such as Florida where the Omicron variant accounts for more that 50% of local transmission.) FDOH has also requested that hospitals focus on effective internal communications among staff about the availability of these treatments within their hospitals
Urgent Care Centers wishing to serve as an early treatment center shouldcomplete a site application with FDOH. The Department is working with providers to ensure supplies of therapeutics are readily available, to list early treatment centers on the FDOH Treatment Locator Map, and to coordinate information among providers.
While not required to become a COVID-19 early treatment center, Physicians, Osteopathic Physicians, and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses who wish to apply to be a dispenser of Paxlovid onsite should complete an application with their separate licensing board. There is a $100 application fee. The Division of Medical Quality Assurance is working with providers to expedite applications, where appropriate. For questions, providers may contact Jennifer Wenhold, Director, Division of Medical Quality Assurance, Florida Department of Health at (850) 245-4460.
Urgent Care Centers, primary care physicians, and other providers with questions about serving as an early treatment center may contact Shannon F. Hughes, Special Projects Coordinator, Office of the Deputy Secretary for Health, Florida Department of Health at (850) 901-6959.
We will continue to share more information about early treatment centers as it is received.