Tampa General Hospital considers limiting monoclonal antibody treatment due to distribution changes

Tampa, Florida, USA- February 23, 2020:  Sign of Tampa General Hospital in Florida, USA.
The potential reduction comes as the Biden administration prepares to limit availability.

A top Florida hospital executive on Monday chided President Joe Biden’s administration for its decision to change how monoclonal antibody treatments are being distributed nationwide, calling it “plain wrong.”

“The reality is they need to look at it from a supply and demand perspective and they need to look at it as from how different states are using it as a therapy. It’s one of many tools we have now to fight COVID-19. This change is going to hurt people in Florida,” Tampa General Hospital President and CEO John Couris told members of the House Pandemics & Public Emergencies Committee Monday.

“It’s already starting to make us, for example, think about how we are going to have to limit the hours of operation associated with our ability to provide this life saving therapy and it’s plain wrong,” Couris added. “And my hope is we can do something about it.”

Monoclonal antibody treatments have been available since 2020 but are still not yet in universal use. Gov. Ron DeSantis in August announced the opening of state supported monoclonal centers.

To ensure the treatment was available to all those who wanted it, DeSantis directed former Department of Health Secretary Scott Rivkees to issue a standing order that allowed infected residents to get the treatment without first obtaining a physician’s order.

Moreover, Rivkees order also authorized nurses and paramedics to provide the treatments.

Couris said Tampa General Hospital was the first hospital in the state to begin offering monoclonal antibody treatments, known under one of its manufacturer’s names, Regeneron. The hospital, he said, offered the treatment before it was administered to former President Donald Trump. It offers patients access to the treatment seven days a week. After scheduling an appointment, treatment can be administered within two to three hours, Couris said, adding that patients typically begin feeling better within 24 to 48 hours after receiving the treatment.

The Biden administration announced the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will, at least temporarily, set the rules for distribution of monoclonal antibodies instead of allowing states, medical facilities and doctors to order them directly. DeSantis said the move would hurt Florida.

And he’s not alone in that thinking.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who is running to unseat DeSantis next year, has also asked the Biden administration to delay the decision to change the distribution of the product, a rare moment of agreement between the two political rivals.

Couris was one of a trio of hospital executives to testify virtually before the committee, joining Gino R. Santorio, President & CEO of Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, and Tom VanOsdol, Senior Vice President of Ascension Florida.

All three hospital executives discussed the impact the pandemic has had on operating costs as COVID-19 infections drove inpatient hospitalizations.

The Pandemics Committee wasn’t the only panel discussing impacts from the pandemic on Florida hospitals. More and more hospitals are turning to staffing agencies to help fill nursing positions as shortages pop up throughout the state.

Advent Health Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Neil Finkler told members of the House Health and Human Services Committee nearly four fifths of nursing job postings are being filled with emergency staff.

He called it one of the “existential threats” to delivering health care.

“This is not sustainable,” Finkler said. “It limits consistency, it limits our entry capability, it limits team building and it limits a lot of the things that we have done to improve the quality of care that we provide.”

Florida Hospital Association President and CEO Mary Mayhew said her association is in the early stages of vetting a proposal that could cap the amount of money nurses at staffing agencies get paid. Mayhew downplayed the notion that the idea was anti-free market saying the state has been in the midst of a medical emergency.

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.


10 comments

  • Alex

    September 20, 2021 at 5:58 pm

    Good.

    So sick of whiny Republicans complaining about “muh feedumbs”

    Maybe a nice bout of lung filling glop will be their wake up call.

    • Ron Ogden

      September 21, 2021 at 3:58 am

      Just look at that. Stop and think about what kind of creature Alex is. I never believed that many Nazis survived, but apparently they did. . .and bred. He has purple cyanide dreams.

    • BBA

      September 22, 2021 at 8:14 am

      You shouldn’t be. Because freedom is important Everytime a freedom is taken away, you NEVER get it back!

  • Charlotte Greenbarg

    September 21, 2021 at 8:08 am

    “Alex” is the epitome of the left unmasked. Be forewarned and listen this time. The party of death

    • Zhombre

      September 21, 2021 at 11:50 am

      Repulsive little polyp, isn’t he?

  • Tom Palmer

    September 21, 2021 at 5:20 pm

    I guess it’s better for you right wingers to insult people than to respond in some intelligent way. No one disagrees monoclonal treatments are effective, but they cost 100 times more than vaccinations. I thought you Republicans were for fiscal responsibility. None of this stuff is free.

    • Zhombre

      September 21, 2021 at 5:24 pm

      A jerk rhapsodizes about people he doesn’t like suffering with “a nice bout of lung filling glop” potentially killing them and you’re upset about name-calling and insults. That is why I regard you lefties as shit.

      • Ocean Joe

        September 21, 2021 at 6:37 pm

        Your golden idol and failed casino operator gave you a vaccine, so use it. Nobody has to die from this disease but rightwing talk radio and Fox would rather profit from your death than prevent it. The concept of vaccinated bigshots on the right pushing the disinformation campaign about the vaccines should be criminal. Forget left and right and stop encouraging antivaxxers. Haven’t enough people died already?
        Let’s see the data on the percentage of vaccinated patients requiring Regeneron.

        • zhombre

          September 21, 2021 at 7:02 pm

          I’m vaccinated. SInce May. If I catch COVID in its Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, or other future variants, I’ll let you know. Btw, people who simply question the efficacy of the vaccine, or its potential side effects, or the govt administration of this pandemic, are not necessarily anti-vaxx. Asking pertinent, skeptical questions is not anti anything except ignorance. It is reasonable to ask questions. Believe me, I know people who are anti-vaxx and can tell the difference.

  • Albert Chao

    September 22, 2021 at 9:03 pm

    To the concerned about the cost of Regeneron.
    And how many shots could be administered in the loss of Eighty Three Billion Dollars worth of the best military hardware in the world?
    Around 2.75 billion people moron.

Comments are closed.


#FlaPol

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jason Delgado, Renzo Downey, Daniel Figueroa, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Kelly Hayes, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Jesse Scheckner, Andrew Wilson, and Tristan Wood.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704




Sign up for Sunburn


Categories