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YNHHS held a ribbon-cutting Sept. 9 to officially launch the Home Infusion pharmacy services program. From left are YNHHS leaders Pamela Sutton-Wallace, chief operating officer; Vinay Sawant, executive director, Specialty, Retail and Home Infusion Pharmacy Services; LeeAnn Miller, vice president and chief pharmacy officer; Christopher O’Connor, CEO and president; Lorraine Lee, senior vice president, Clinical Operations; Marjorie Lazarre, executive director and associate chief pharmacy officer; Nicholas LaRiviere, associate director, Retail and Specialty Pharmacy; Thomas Balcezak, MD, chief clinical officer; and Gene Decaminada, pharmacy services manager. 

New YNHHS program provides convenience, comfort and exceptional care to infusion therapy patients 

Yale New Haven Health recently launched a Home Infusion pharmacy program that will provide eligible patients intravenous (IV) drug and nutritional therapies at home, versus in a hospital or clinic.

YNHHS and Pharmacy leaders joined staff at a Sept. 9 ribbon-cutting at the Home Infusion Center, located at the health system’s Regional Operations Center in West Haven. 

“This is an important step forward in today’s healthcare environment, where patients can receive safe, high-quality care without leaving their homes,” said Lorraine Lee, senior vice president, Clinical Operations, YNHHS. “The program will serve all of our patients, as drug therapies can be given safely and with the same standards of care at home as in the hospital setting.

YNHHS’ new Home Infusion Center includes controlled environments where Pharmacy staff compound (combine) sterile products into medications that are customized for each patient. These compounded medications are sent to patients’ homes, where an infusion nurse trains patients or caregivers how to administer them.

Infusion therapy means that a drug is administered intravenously and via epidural routes (into the membranes surrounding the spinal cord). Drugs commonly administered via infusion include antibiotic, antifungal, antiviral, biologics, chemotherapy, hydration and pain management medications, along with IV nutrition. Conditions commonly requiring home infusion therapy include infections, gastrointestinal diseases and disorders, dehydration, congestive heart failure, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, immune deficiencies and neurological disorders.

At 8,475 square feet, YNHHS’ Home Infusion Center is one of the largest facilities of its kind in Connecticut. It includes sterile controlled environments where pharmacy technicians manipulate products to create medications customized for each patient. Previously, external providers compounded medications for YNHHS. With the new Home Infusion Center, the health system will be able to provide continuity of care for YNHHS patients and those outside the health system. 

Compounded medications are delivered to patients’ homes, where a Home Infusion program nurse teaches patients and their caregivers how to store, handle and administer medications and care for IV lines. The nurses make regular phone calls and home visits to monitor progress, answer questions and provide any related care.

“We’re very proud to implement the only health system-integrated program like this in Connecticut,” said LeeAnn Miller, PharmD, vice president and chief pharmacy officer, YNHHS. “The flexibility this will offer patients and families will be a model for care that increases access and puts the needs of our patients first.”

In addition to making infusion therapy more convenient and comfortable for patients, home infusion minimizes inpatient hospital stays, freeing up beds for other patients.

“By expanding at-home care, we are taking further steps to ensure treatment remains accessible during a pandemic surge, transportation challenges or other care-access issues our community might face,” said Gene Decaminada, pharmacy services manager, YNHHS.