COVID-19 IG Patient Resource Center
At Accredo our top priority is protecting your health and well-being. We’ve collected several questions from our immune deficient patient community related to COVID-19 and answered them below.
Frequently Asked Questions: Immune Globulin (IG) Medications
Can the virus be in immune globulin (IG) or other plasma products?
Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association (PPTA) considers that the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak is not a concern for the safety of plasma protein therapies manufactured by PPTA member companies. The assessment is shared by notable international and national public health bodies, including the WHO, the ECDC, and others.
Do you anticipate a shortage of infusion products as people stay away from donation centers?
The following are statements from various manufacturers.
- Takeda USBU COVID-19 Supply Statement
- Grifols Corporate Statement on the Novel Coronavirus
- Grifols COVID-19 Updates
- CSL Behring COVID-19 Update
I am on Medicare and receive intravenous immune globulin (IVIG) infusions at a facility. What are my options to receive infusions at home?
The Immune Deficiency Foundation (IDF) shared, on their website, an update from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) stating most beneficiaries with PI who rely on IVIG have access to home infusions through enrollment in the Medicare IVIG Demonstration . This benefit is ending on December 31; IDF is strongly advocating to continue this beyond 2020.
You may also qualify to receive infusions through the home health services benefit for homebound individuals, which has been expanded during this public health emergency to include individuals who, for medical purposes, need to stay in their homes due to COVID-19 risk. These options will expand coverage to patients with PI diagnoses not listed as covered under Medicare for home infusions. This will include patients with non-familial hypogammaglobulinemia (D80.1) who previously could only receive treatment at a hospital or infusion center. See IDF’s home infusion blog postfor more details.
Accredo home infusion is not an option under these expanded home health service criteria and rules.
Subcutaneous IG (subQ) continues to be a self-administration option for patients with a covered diagnosis.
If my insurance allows, should I ask for more than a month’s supply of IG?
John Boyle, IDF president and CEO, stated recently in an email, “Unless your physician believes there are extenuating circumstances (like living in a very remote location), there is likely no reason to have anything other than your normal shipment of SCIG. The supply chain is more-or-less working as it should, and the last thing that we–as a community–want to do is deplete the supply of these therapeutics when we need them most.”
Will Accredo patients still receive home infusions while people are being asked to stay home?
Yes. The health and well-being of our patients is our top priority. We are well prepared to meet the medication needs of our patients so they can stay healthy. We maintain universal precautions regardless of the patient’s illness, and will continue to work with the patient’s physician to determine the best course of action. We have, and have always had, a robust Infection Control plan in place, and have stringent processes to protect each patient and nurse. Our nurses wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and follow universal precautions, including avoiding contact with patients' bodily fluids, and wearing of nonporous articles such as medical gloves, goggles, and face shields. Our nurses are required to use the following with patient interactions:
- Personal protective equipment which includes an N-95 respirator, gowns, goggles, face shields and gloves
- Hand sanitizer with a greater than 60% alcohol content
- Disinfecting wipes, which they are required to use on their iPad before and after each use.
Our nurses typically travel alone in their cars, and are not required to come into our offices before starting or ending their day. Their work is done with patients in the patient’s home.
How are Accredo nurses handling situations in which patients are on self-quarantine? How do they teach the patient or infuse the patient in these situations?
We anticipate that we will be able to see these patients. Nurses take care of patients in isolation and do not then have to be isolated. The nurses wear PPE and follow universal precautions, whenever providing patient care. Universal precautions refers to the practice, in medicine, of avoiding contact with patients' bodily fluids, by means of the wearing of nonporous articles such as medical gloves, goggles and face shields.
How will Accredo serve their patients who live in an area under a state of emergency and are in need of a specialty home infusion?
The health and well-being of our patients and our employees is our top priority. We are well prepared to meet the medication needs of our patients so they can stay healthy.
We maintain universal precautions regardless of the patient’s illness.
- In the event that a patient is diagnosed and/or quarantined, universal precautions will be utilized and we will work in conjunction with the patient’s prescriber to determine the best course of action.
- If the best course of action requires administration of specialty medication for their illness, our nurses are equipped to provide that care in the home.
- Our nurses are limited in the number of patients they see each day.
- Our nurses have no restriction on travel.
- If a patient is located in a state of emergency, we would expect our nurses to continue to see patients as they have prior to the state of emergency.
We have, and have always had, a robust Infection Control plan in place, and have stringent processes to protect each patient and nurse.
- All of our nurses are required to have personal protective equipment which includes an N-95 respirator, gowns, goggles, face shields and gloves. (They have these primarily in the event we discover any increase in tuberculosis (TB) incidence in a community.)
- They have hand sanitizer with a greater than 60 percent alcohol content, which, according to the CDC, is effective against COVID-19.
- They have disinfecting wipes, which they are required to use on their iPad before and after each use.
- Our nurses typically travel alone in their cars.
- They are not required to come into our offices before starting or ending their day. Their work is done with patients in the patient’s home.
How does Accredo handle transition of patients such as a patient being sent home for infusions instead of staying in the hospital to receive them?
We do not infuse/administer medications that are dispensed by other entities. If a patient is being referred to Accredo, the medical facility should send the referral to us for medication, supplies and nursing. They should not be dispensing medication to the patient. That said, if this is a medication we can teach, our nurses will teach with the Accredo-dispensed doses and the patient could then self-administer the drug they have from the prior provider.
In the event of a mass quarantine in a city or town, how will Accredo deliveries get in and out?
Accredo is contracted with all major logistics carriers to maximize our ability to maintain delivery commitment. In the event that all logistics carriers have been exhausted, we would look to work through our 20+ branch pharmacies to ensure patients receive their medications.
Accredo is by your side
If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, or feel anxious or stressed about the situation, Accredo is here to help.
- We will ensure safe delivery of your medications when you need them – there is no need to order refills earlier than usual, or to stock up.
- Our pharmacists are available 24/7 to answer your calls, provide support, and assist your providers.
- Our web portal and mobile app can help you manage your pharmacy needs easily and securely, which includes switching to getting your medication delivered at home.
Prevention is key
- To fight germs and keep them from spreading, cough or sneeze into a tissue, or your elbow.
- Share a smile, instead of a handshake or hug.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, for a minimum of 20 seconds, and clean shared surfaces.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and try not to touch your mouth, nose, and eyes.
- Maintain social distancing.
- If you have to leave your home, wear a cloth mask.
- With the spread of COVID-19 during flu season, it's very important to get a flu shot. The CDC recommends that everyone age 6 months and older should get a flu shot1. Be sure to consult with your doctor if you are unsure if the flu shot is right for you. Learn More
What to do if you feel ill
- Reach out to your health care provider immediately.
- Avoid exposing others to your illness – even if you feel up to going out, you could pose a risk to someone who lacks your resilience.
Below are helpful COVID-19 resources from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as resources from patient communities related to COVID-19.CDC Safety Guidance [PDF]
Frequently Asked Questions
Basic Protective Measures
FDA Warns of Fraudulent Covid-19 Test Kits
The Infectious Disease Society of America
Immune Deficiency Foundation
Who Needs a Flu Vaccine and When
1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Who Needs a Flu Vaccine and When". August 20, 2020.