St. Luke’s University Health Network has opened an outpatient COVID-19 treatment clinic at St. Luke’s Warren Campus in Phillipsburg, N.J.
The Warren Campus’ monoclonal antibody treatment program offers patients bamlanivimab, an experimental drug developed by Eli Lilly that is similar to a product President Donald Trump received after contracting the virus in October.
The Network’s first treatment clinic that opened last week at St. Luke’s Easton Campus has treated more than 40 patients including Sandy Buss of Allentown.
“I am grateful that because of St. Luke’s, I was given the opportunity to receive the monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19,” Buss said. “The entire team at St. Luke’s was welcoming and made sure I was comfortable throughout the treatment. Without this treatment, I would not have felt the improvement I now do.”
Infectious disease specialist Dr. Jeffrey Jahre, the Network's Senior Vice President of Medical and Academic Affairs, said, “St. Luke’s is pleased to be collaborating with Pennsylvania and New Jersey health departments to advance this important COVID-19 treatment. This approach will help our hospitals avoid being overwhelmed during the current surge as certain high-risk patients who receive bamlanivimab recover in the comfort of their own homes.”
Granted emergency authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, monoclonal antibodies block the virus’ attachment and entry into human cells. Infusion has been found to be particularly effective in preventing the need for hospitalization in select, higher-risk patients including those who are 65 years of age or older and whose infection, identified early, does not yet require supplemental oxygen.
Patients who wish to be treated with bamlanivimab may schedule an appointment after receiving a prescription from a St. Luke’s primary care physician or through a St. Luke’s CareNow walk-in center or emergency room. Supplies, dictated by the state, could be subject to limitations.
“St. Luke’s has been able to bring this exciting new treatment to the Lehigh Valley so quickly thanks to multidisciplinary cooperation across our Network,” Jahre said. “This kind of teamwork, which in this case involves many individuals from multiple departments, is a hallmark of St. Luke’s can-do culture.”
Monoclonal antibody infusion is one part of St. Luke’s two-pronged strategy for caring for COVID-19 patients at home.
St. Luke’s also is one of the first health systems worldwide to use Masimo SafetyNet, a cloud-based patient management platform, to help clinicians care for patients remotely. It works by using a wireless sensor to monitor patients' vital signs and provide doctors with valuable clinical data that helps to inform difficult treatment decisions such as when to use a ventilator.
In the spring, the Network deployed Masimo SafetyNet at its hospitals and tested at-home use among COVID-19-postive employees. Expanded home-use for certain hospital-discharged COVID-19 patients who are not employees is planned to begin in upcoming weeks.
“A passion for research and innovation has enabled St. Luke’s to deploy new and powerful weapons in the fight against COVID-19, establishing the Network as a leader among health systems nationally,” Jahre said.
About St. Luke's
Founded in 1872, St. Luke’s University Health Network (SLUHN) is a fully integrated, regional, non-profit network of more than 16,000 employees providing services at 12 hospitals sites and 300+ outpatient sites. With annual net revenue in excess of $2.5 billion, the Network’s service area includes 11 counties: Lehigh, Northampton, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Montgomery, Monroe, Schuylkill and Luzerne counties in Pennsylvania and Warren and Hunterdon counties in New Jersey. Dedicated to advancing medical education, St. Luke’s is the preeminent teaching hospital in central-eastern Pennsylvania. In partnership with Temple University, St. Luke’s established the Lehigh Valley’s first and only regional medical school campus. It also operates the nation’s longest continuously operating School of Nursing, established in 1884, and 38 fully accredited graduate medical educational programs with 347 residents and fellows. St. Luke’s is the only Lehigh Valley-based health care system to earn Medicare’s five- and four-star ratings (the highest) for quality, efficiency and patient satisfaction. St. Luke’s is both a Leapfrog Group and Healthgrades Top Hospital and a Newsweek World’s Best Hospital. U.S. News & World Report ranked St. Luke’s #1 in the Lehigh Valley and #6 in the state. Three of IBM Watson Health’s 100 Top Hospitals are St. Luke’s hospitals. St. Luke’s University Hospital has earned the 100 Top Major Teaching Hospital designation from IBM Watson Health eight times total and six years in a row. St. Luke’s has also been cited by IBM Watson Health as a 50 Top Cardiovascular Program. Utilizing the Epic electronic medical record (EMR) system for both inpatient and outpatient services, the Network is a multi-year recipient of the Most Wired award recognizing the breadth of the SLUHN’s information technology applications such as telehealth, online scheduling and online pricing information. St. Luke’s is also recognized as one of the state’s lowest cost providers.