The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has announced new programs named ‘Test to Treat’. The programs will be implemented across thirteen locations throughout Michigan and offer telehealth services alongside in person healthcare.
This comes following the introduction of the federal COVID-19 Test to Treat Initiative, which allows individuals who have tested positive for the Covid-19 virus to receive medical attention, through either an evaluation or full consultation. Certain individuals who are deemed eligible may receive antiviral medication to combat the virus. The federal program uses pharmacy-based clinics and community centers, in addition to long term health centers to carry out their initiative, with some offering telehealth services. In all thirteen Michigan locations, telehealth will be offered following testing. Patients will travel to one of the locations to receive their testing, and from there will have the ability to use telehealth at their testing site to speak to a clinician without the requirement of face-to-face interaction. The clinician may opt to prescribe anti-viral medication which can be collected at an agreed pharmacy convenient to the patient. It is hoped that if the Test to Treat initiative is implanted successfully, access to the two oral pills by Pfizer and Lagevrio will increase significantly across the United States.
“Early access to these medications helps support faster recovery and decreases the risk of hospitalization,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive. “COVID-19 treatments are most effective at preventing severe illness when taken as soon after symptoms start. This program provides Michiganders with limited access to a health care provider the ability to be evaluated and treated for COVID-19, rapidly, confidentially and at no-cost.”
There are several factors that make up the criteria to determine which communities and areas should be provided with a center that offers telehealth:
- A High Social Vulnerability Index.
- A large number of individuals aged over 50 that have been tested at the examined site.
- Areas that have a limited access to other healthcare sites with the exception of emergency facilities
- Facilities that have a high testing rate throughout.