The Baker-Polito Administration launched a new free telehealth program to help people more easily access treatment for COVID-19. The program, announced on Wednesday, is available to residents who are 18 years of age or older that have tested positive for the virus and are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms. They will be now able to schedule a video consultation with a healthcare professional to determine if they are eligible for Paxlovid, a COVID-19 treatment pill taken orally that can reduce the risk for severe symptoms and hospitalization by nearly 90 percent.
The program, accessible at www.mass.gov/covidtelehealth, is designed to be a quick and easy way for people to see if Paxlovid is the right treatment for them. The program is not for medical emergencies and is only for those that currently live in Massachusetts.
“Paxlovid has been shown to be highly effective in treating COVID-19 and can prevent patients from getting seriously ill,” Dr. Larry Madoff, Medical Director in the Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, said in a statement.
During these telehealth visits, residents will take a short health intake survey and a clinician will review symptoms and risk factors. If Paxlovid is determined to be the right treatment, a prescription will be ordered to a pharmacy convenient for the patient. Free overnight delivery of Paxlovid can also be arranged.
“This treatment must be started within five days of symptoms, so it is essential to speak with a clinician right away. This new telehealth option makes it easier for residents to connect quickly with a clinician and we encourage individuals who test positive to utilize it,” Madoff said in a statement.
The program and prescription are free, and residents do not need to have health insurance to access it.
Paxlovid is intended for people 12 and older with a mild to moderate case of COVID-19 who are at higher risk for severe COVID-19, are within 5 days of symptom onset, and have tested positive for the virus, regardless of vaccination status. Treatment must begin as soon as possible after testing positive and within five days of symptom onset. Paxlovid can reduce the risk for severe disease progression and hospitalization by nearly 90 percent, according to the administration’s announcement.
“Fortunately, we have reached a point in the pandemic where the tools to stay safe and healthy are much more widely available. Those include vaccines first and foremost,” Dr. Shira Doron, Infectious Disease Physician and Hospital Epidemiologist at Tufts Medical Center said in a statement. “But now anyone who gets COVID and has even a single risk factor can and should also avail themselves of one of several highly effective treatments, including two oral antiviral medications, of which there is plentiful supply. It is important for the public to know that these treatments are safe and effective at reducing your risk of progressing to severe COVID-19.”
The telehealth program is supported by Color Health, a company that helps connect patients with COVID tests and treatment.
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Source : https://www.boston.com/news/coronavirus/2022/05/04/baker-administration-free-telehealth-program-paxlovid-covid-treatment/