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Upstate HomeCare, Nascentia Health participate in SPEED pilot program

By Eric Reinhardt (


Nascentia Health, which is headquartered at 1050 W. Genesee St. in Syracuse, is working with Clinton–based Upstate HomeCare in a pilot program that involves administering monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to Loretto’s COVID-positive patients who are at high-risk for severe symptoms and hospitalization from the virus. Loretto is a health-care organization providing services for older adults throughout Central New York. (Eric Reinhardt / CNYBJ)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Upstate HomeCare and Nascentia Health announced they’re participating in the SPEED pilot program.

SPEED is short for Special Projects for Equitable and Efficient Distribution. Nascentia Health is headquartered in Syracuse, while Upstate HomeCare is based in Clinton.

Both Upstate HomeCare and Nascentia Health are community providers of home health-care services.

The purpose of the SPEED pilot is to help in administering monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to non-hospital facilities that service “priority populations,” such as Loretto’s facilities in Syracuse.

The nonprofit Loretto is a health-care organization providing services for older adults throughout Central New York. The organization serves close to 10,000 individuals each year through 19 locations in Onondaga and Cayuga counties.

The SPEED pilot is a new federal allocation program used in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), and the National Home Infusion Association (NHIA).

How SPEED works

The goal of SPEED is to avoid “unnecessary” hospital admissions and prevent the progression of COVID-19 disease early on. With the number of virus cases rising, concern over hospital overpopulation has become a “significant” concern in the Syracuse area, the organizations say. If local hospitals are close to filling 90 percent of total beds, state officials will impose “stiff” red zone restrictions that would shut down most commercial activity in the Syracuse area.

Upstate HomeCare and Nascentia Health are working together to help area hospitals and Loretto facilities reduce the number of COVID-positive patients and prevent those at risk of going to a hospital. The effort involves the administration of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to Loretto COVID-positive patients who are at high-risk for severe symptoms and hospitalization.

Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful antigens such as viruses. Bamlanivimab is a monoclonal antibody directed explicitly against the spike protein of COVID-19, designed to block the virus’s attachment and entry into human cells. Bamlanivimab was shown in clinical trials to reduce COVID-19-related hospitalization or emergency room visits in patients at high risk for disease progression within 28 days after treatment. These therapies have received widespread national attention after doctors used them to treat President Donald Trump and other top government officials.

About Upstate HomeCare

Founded in 1985, Upstate HomeCare, is a regional provider of home health-care services including pharmacy, infusion therapies, and specialty medications.

Upstate Homecare has five offices located across New York, including its Utica–area headquarters in Clinton, Syracuse, Albany, Rochester, and Buffalo. Upstate HomeCare employs more than 150 people, including pharmacists, nurses, respiratory therapists, and many other support personnel.

Gregory LoPresti, CEO of Upstate HomeCare, is also a board member of NHIA. Upstate was invited to participate in this pilot.

“Upstate is proud to stand on the front lines to take part in helping those in our community most in need by participating in this new pilot, decreasing avoidable hospital admissions is priority one” said LoPresti.

Upstate HomeCare will start by administering mAbs to patients in select long-term care facilities across New York as part of this initiative, “eventually moving to treat patients at home.”

About Nascentia Health

Nascentia Health, formally VNA Homecare, has served as a provider of home and community-based care since 1890.  

Its specialties include in-home care; home health aides and elder care; community health and wellness programs; equipment and “innovative” care technologies; chronic-disease management; and offer both Managed Long-Term Care (MLTC) and Medicare Advantage special needs insurance plans.

The system’s coverage area spans 48 counties across Central and Upstate New York with offices located in Syracuse, Rome, Albany, and Buffalo.

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