May 18, 2020

How to deal with infusion centers shutting down during COVID-19

How to deal with infusion centers shutting down during COVID-19, can you avoid this in the future?

During COVID-19, we’ve seen many ambulatory infusion centers and hospital infusion centers shutting their doors to biologic infusions. Hospitals especially, have cut their infusion appointments to free up capacity for COVID-19 patients. What does this mean for your office if you are referring to these facilities? A tremendous amount of work, frustration, and uncertainty for patients with chronic illnesses. Adding additional workload to your practice during this time is not optimal and may be impossible with cuts to staffing. Worst of all, the patient is left in limbo.  

COVID-19 has strained nearly every industry and business, but there are safe options for infusion patients during this time. There are a few things you can do when you find the infusion center you refer to is shutting down.  

Here are few options and resources to considers

Home Infusion companies are an option. Set up home infusion with a local home infusion company. The medication is delivered to the patient’s home and the nurse is sent to administer the drug.  

Another option is to refer to a Local physician office: local office that offers infusions. Many private practices manage their own in-office infusion centers. These practices Private practices may have more flexibility than hospitals when deciding to keep their infusion center open during the pandemic. You can search for local infusion centers by zipcode on certain websites

Pharmaceutical companies can also be a resource during this time. Some companies will offer infusion center locator tools that may be able to place your patients. Refer to the support services portion of their website for phone numbers and more information.  

As with any referral option, you will want to ask several questions: Am I comfortable with the clinical policies and protocols instituted by that facility/company? Will I have full visibility into my patients’ continuum of care? How much will this cost for my patients.

The last option, and opportunity for you to maintain the most control over your patient’s treatment adherence and safety during COVID-19 is to open an in-office infusion center and mange these patients at your own practice. Infusing the patients in the comfort of your own office may be the most effective way to ensure your physician’s have direct input, oversight, and decision-making capabilities of their infusion patients. Operating an in-office infusion center within your practice is the only way to avoid this obstacle should something like this happen again in the future.  

During this difficult time we recognize challenges healthcare businesses are facing. OI Infusion has partnered with practices that were seeing cuts to infusion services in their community. We’ve successfully transferred these patients back to their provider’s office where they have continued their treatment during COVID-19. If you are in need of assistance or recommendations on where to send your patients when your local infusion center shuts down, please schedule a consultation.

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