Biden Admin Launches New Pilot COVID-19 Telehealth Program

Biden Admin Launches New Pilot COVID-19 Telehealth Program
Home Test to Treat Program. (NIBIB/eMed)
Mimi Nguyen Ly

The Biden administration on Thursday announced the launch of a pilot program that offers free COVID-19 services that includes telehealth consultations, at-home COVID-19 rapid antigen self-tests, and at-home treatments.

The program, called “Home Test to Treat,” will be made available to selected communities across the United States. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced the government “aims to offer services to approximately 100,000 people across the United States in the coming year.”

The program will make antiviral treatment available to eligible people who have a positive COVID-19 test result, with the goal being to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death.

The White House first announced the program in September 2022.

“At-home testing for COVID-19 is now widely available in the United States, as are antiviral treatments, and this program combines easy home access to both,” Bruce Tromberg, director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) at the NIH, said in a statement.

“The Home Test to Treat program allows those who are sick an alternative to venturing out for testing or treatment, potentially reducing the spread of COVID-19 in the community.”

The first to pilot the program, scheduled to start later in January, will be local and state officials in Berks County, Pennsylvania, with up to 8,000 people in the area anticipated to participate.

During the pilot phase, organizers of the program “will gather information from participants to identify best practices and make improvements to the Home Test to Treat model that can be used to implement the program on a larger scale.”

Other communities around the United States will be selected to join the program later this year “based on level of community need, access to healthcare treatment, expected COVID-19 infection rates and socio-economic factors.”

“Telehealth services provider eMed will implement the Home Test to Treat program. Their services are provided under a contract award by NIBIB contractor, VentureWell,” the NIH announced. “Having administered millions of verified at-home telehealth sessions during the pandemic, eMed will host the user-friendly Home Test to Treat website, where participants can sign up for the program, report symptoms, receive telehealth and antiviral treatment delivery, and coordinate telehealth enabled test kits.”

Researchers from the UMass Chan Medical School will collaborate with eMed to analyze data from each of the participating communities. They will analyze the impacts of the home-based process for testing and treatment, people’s attitudes toward the program, and the clinical outcomes of the treatments. The NIH said that NIBIB issued a contract with UMass Chan Medical School for an undisclosed amount for the effort.

Mimi Nguyen Ly covers U.S. and world news.
Related Topics