Is the COVID-19 Test-to-Treat program testing your patience?
The news is good, bad and downright stupid when it comes to the COVID-19 Test-to-Treat Program that was launched in March.
Good: antiviral medications. Pfizer's Paxlovid and Merck's Lagevrio, when taken within five days of developing your first COVID-19 symptoms, can prevent severe illness, hospitalizations and deaths, especially among chronically ill (diabetes, heart disease, etc.), disabled and older Americans.
Good: All qualified heath care providers (that's your doc) can prescribe these antivirals. And now, the Department of Health and Human Services is distributing oral antiviral pills directly to participating Test-to-Treat pharmacy-based clinics and long-term care pharmacies. You can get tested and prescribed antivirals all in one visit. An online national map shows locations that are offering the service: https://covid-19-test-to-treat-locator-dhhs.hub.arcgis.com.
Bad -- and stupid: According to a survey of the Test-to-Treat system by Kaiser Health News, many locales have no nearby clinics that can offer such services. Where there are clinics, there are online glitches, and for the non-tech savvy, things get especially tricky. In addition, some places charge up to $100 for in-person and telehealth Test-to-Treat visits. People without insurance, whose health plans don't cover visits to the clinics or who have high-deductible plans must shoulder the full costs.
Solutions: Talk to your primary care physician about Test-to-Treat at his/her office -- before you need it, so you're prepared. Order free at-home test kits ahead of time from www.covid.gov/tests. And Kaiser Health News says Truepill offers online COVID-19 assessments and meds through its website findcovidcare.com. Truepill, available in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., costs $25 to $55.
Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email questions@GreatAgeReboot.com.
(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.