LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Louisiana has expanded monoclonal antibody infusions (mAbs) outside of hospitals. Wednesday Ochsner Lafayette General opened the first mobile unit on the corner of Congress Street and Ambassador Caffery Parkway adjacent to Ochsner Lafayette General Orthopedic Hospital.
Oschner Lafayette General has been giving people monoclonal antibody infusions since November of last year, but all four of their other locations (Ochsner University Hospital & Clinics, Ochsner Acadia General Hospital, Ochsner Abrom Kaplan Memorial Hospital, and Ochsner St. Martin Hospital) are inside hospitals.
Chief Nursing Officer Renee Delahoussaye said, “We’ve seen in the patients that we’ve infused, greater than 95% of those patients we have prevented a hospital stay for those patients.”
Because the results of the monoclonal antibody infusions are so promising, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) invested $150 million to increase access to mAbs therapy across the country. That federal funding is allowing, Ochsner Lafayette General to open its fifth infusion site. It is the only site fully federally funded and the first outside of a hospital.
The 10-chair mobile site will be able to treat up to 500 additional patients per week once fully staffed and running daily. Currently, its hours are 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Delahoussaye said a mobile site specifically for mAbs infusions provides the accessibility and the capacity local hospitals were missing.
“Although, we did have four clinics online, the volume of referrals we were receiving, we just couldn’t keep up with them. At one point we had 200 patients waiting to get an infusion,” Delahoussaye expressed. “We’re very hopeful that this clinic will allow us to stay on top of our referrals and make sure that patients are being infused same day or within 24 hours.”
In addition to Louisiana’s first mobile site, more than 50 federally funded infusion sites have now been established or expanded across the country. mAbs therapy is the first COVID-19 treatment authorized for emergency outpatient use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“It’s definitely heartwarming, rewarding to be able to offer this to our community. We know that there are many patients out there that don’t have access to this type of treatment and to be able to offer this to our community. It’s a good feeling,” Delahoussaye concluded.
To be eligible, you must have tested COVID positive within the past ten days and be considered “high risk.” To confirm eligibility for the treatment, receive a referral, and book an appointment, patients should contact 1-833-TREAT-COVID (1-833-873-2826). You can also learn more about the treatment at ochsnerlg.org/mAbs.
Written by Neale Zeringue