KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As promised by Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, clinics offering monoclonal antibody infusions have started opening across the state.
That includes a location in Kansas City where the treatment for specific COVID-positive patients is happening at Truman Medical Center. TMC/UH leadership said Thursday that they expect their clinic will be able to do 32 infusions a day, helped by new assistance coming in from the Department of Health and Senior Services.
This is actually a statewide program. There will be other locations; however, these clinics are only scheduled to stay open for the next 30 days. Parson says that $15 million will pay for the effort that could treat as many as 4,000 in Missouri.
Outside of TMC, new signs point the way inside where a line of chairs next to IV are prepared to receive COVID-positive patients.
According to the physician referral form, patients must have had symptoms present less than ten days, have stable oxygen levels, and have a documented positive COVID test.
“The vaccine is free. The tests are free. Is this also free or is this something you have to go through your insurance with?” FOX4 asked Dr. Mark Steele, executive chief clinical officer at TMC/UH.
“For the infusions that we’re doing here over these 30 days, it’s free. There’s no charge for this,” Steele said.
Patients must also meet one additional criteria to qualify. Those items include old age, obesity, pregnancy, diabetes, most major health issues and being a part of a high-risk ethnicity group (Black or Latino), according to the referral form.
People who cannot get an infusion include people already hospitalized with COVID-19. TMC/UH currently has 60 COVID-19 patients between its campuses.
“And actually the last month, we’ve had 18 deaths, which is higher than any month previous. Our high was 15 back in January. And two of those deaths so far here in August were people in their 30s,” Steele said.
“We certainly hope to fill up the slots that we have, but because it’s a little bit labor intensive obviously there’s only so many people that we can treat with this. And quite honestly, we were providing this treatment but we had to limit the amount of time we could give it because we simply didn’t have enough staff,” Steele said.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is also paying for contract workers to helm infusion centers.