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Intrathecal Home Infusion

Pentec Health offers intrathecal home infusion services to relieve and manage pain and muscle spasticity. This form of targeted drug delivery – where a medical device commonly known as an intrathecal pump is surgically implanted into the patient’s abdomen with a catheter running from the pump and fixed to the intrathecal space around the spinal cord – allows for a slow release of highly concentrated drugs administered at a lower dose than would be needed orally or subcutaneously. It also provides highly concentrated medication directly where it is needed, minimizing side effects and maximizing effectiveness. 

With decades of experience, our multi-disciplinary approach enhances pain management and spasticity outcomes through highly skilled specialty care nurses, a best-in-class pharmacy team and dedicated patient support.


Still have questions? We have answers.

How do I get help if I have any problems?

Patients served by Pentec Health can contact our nursing and pharmacy personnel 24/7 to address any health-related issues. If the problem you are experiencing is beyond our ability to help, we will contact your physician and work closely with him or her. Pentec Health has more than 15 years of experience managing patients with IT pumps, so chances are good that we can help you immediately.

How do I know if my insurance will pay for your in-home service?

Once you and your doctor decide that our in-home nursing service is right for you, our team of reimbursement specialists will work with your insurance company to determine your coverage level. We will contact you with the information obtained from your health plan about your benefits and out-of-pocket costs before we start caring for you at home.  Pentec Health contracts with many health plans and insurance companies, and each offers different levels of coverage. Medicare and Medicaid are also particularly restrictive about what is covered at home. You will have the final say about in-home treatment, of course. But if you can’t afford your portion of the bill, we may be able to help.

What can I expect during the initial visit from my Pentec Health nurse?

A Pentec Health nurse will call you a day or two before the scheduled appointment to confirm that the date and time still work for you. You can expect your Pentec Health nurse to arrive at your home within 30 minutes of the agreed-upon time. There are some admission forms for you to sign and the nurse will explain the entire refill process to you. The initial visit will last about two hours. A complete medical history and medication profile will be completed along with a physical examination that includes a pain or spasticity assessment. Your nurse will have all the necessary equipment and medication with him or her to perform your pump refill. He or she will also provide you with a copy of the telemetry printout as well as emergency contact information, so you can reach us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 
Before your nurse leaves, the two of you can decide on a convenient date for your next visit.

What can I expect during routine visits from my Pentec Health nurse?

A Pentec Health nurse will call you a day or two before your scheduled appointment to confirm that the date and time still work for you. Your nurse will arrive within 30 minutes of the agreed-upon time with all the necessary equipment and medication to perform the pump refill. Your nurse is there for you, so take full advantage of his or her expertise. He or she will ask how you are feeling and if you experienced any changes since the last visit. The nurse will take your vital signs and do a head-to-toe assessment of your bodily functions to uncover any issues you may be having, whether these issues are with the pump or otherwise. If your doctor ordered any changes to your pump medication(s), your nurse will review that with you before performing the refill. You will always be given a copy of your telemetry printout to keep with you in case of emergency. Before leaving, the two of you can decide on a convenient date for your next visit.

Who performs pump refills?

Most patients are forced to go to their doctor’s office or hospital for routine refills because very few companies are qualified to provide this service in the home. Pentec Health is the exception to the rule. Our team of highly trained nurses has years of experience providing in-home care to patients with implanted pumps. We utilize a primary care nursing model to ensure continuity of care. This allows you to develop a long-term relationship with your nurse.

Is in-home care right for me?

Regardless of why you have an implanted pump, in-home care is an attractive option for you. Patients who experience physical discomfort during transportation, who live long distances from the doctor’s office, who require frequent pump refills or who have caregiver support issues all benefit immensely from the convenience of Pentec Health’s in-home nursing service. We don’t replace your doctor, but we act as an in-home extension of your doctor’s office.

How do I sign up for Pentec Health’s in-home nursing service?

You should discuss your situation with your doctor. If your doctor agrees that in-home care is appropriate for you, he or she will refer you to Pentec Health. Once that is done, our team will contact your doctor to obtain necessary medical information and your insurance company to determine your coverage for in-home care. When we have all the information we need and have secured coverage from your health plan, we will assign a Primary Care Nurse to you. He or she will contact you and your doctor to determine a convenient date to begin in-home service.

What is an intrathecal pump?

An intrathecal pump is a medical device that is surgically implanted in your abdomen, with a catheter (a small tube) running from the pump and surgically fixed to the intrathecal space around the spinal cord. The pump has a small reservoir that holds a prescribed medication. This medication is administered very slowly through the catheter to control spasticity and/or pain. The dose is determined by a doctor and then the pump is programmed to dispense that amount by a trained professional. The medication in the pump needs to be replenished regularly to control your condition. The frequency of the refilling is determined by the size of the pump’s reservoir, the concentration of the medication and the rate the medication is being pumped through the catheter.

What is intrathecal drug delivery and why is it beneficial?

Intrathecal drug delivery places medication directly into the area that surrounds the spinal cord. This method of medication delivery allows for lower dosing of drugs than would be needed orally or subcutaneously (under the skin). It also delivers highly concentrated medication directly to where it is needed, thereby minimizing side effects and maximizing effectiveness. The medication does not enter the blood stream and is very beneficial if you have chronic conditions that are difficult to control.

Can a combination of drugs go in the pump?

Yes! For example, if your doctor decides that you would benefit from a combination of pain and spasticity medications, our specialty pharmacy will work with your doctor to determine which combination of drugs is best for you.

How do I submit a referral? How does the referral process work?

First, complete the referral form – either as a hard copy or online – and make sure to provide a signature and date, as these are required. You should also have necessary supportive documentation ready to go. These include a signed and dated prescription—including the patient’s name, birthdate, dose, drug name, drug volume, and pump volume—a Current Telemetry, insurance information, and any trial and implant notes. All of these should be faxed to 800-355-1029. Once the necessary referral information is received, the intake process, patient contact and pharmacy fulfillment require at least 72 hours, but can take as long as a few weeks depending on the insurance authorization. We typically triage information such as alarm dates, patient requests, etc. 

How far in advance of an alarm date do I need to send you the referral?

We like to have at least 2-3 weeks prior to the patient’s alarm date to process a referral in order to ensure we have nursing availability for the upcoming refill. There are times it can take longer due to insurance verification and authorization, or difficulty connecting with patients and caregivers. However, this is not very common and can sometimes be processed quickly.

If I can’t reach you, who should I contact?

Physician’s offices can call or email their Regional Account Manager regarding referral or contact nursing team regarding any clinical questions if the patient is active. Patients can also reach us at 800-223-4376 at any time.

How much will this cost the patient? Will it cost more than when I do the refill?

In most situations, the cost to the patient will be the same or lower than an office refill. Many factors will determine the actual cost, such as insurance coverage for home infusion, copay and coinsurance status, state and federal coverage dynamics.  Each patient’s cost will vary based on these factors, and we can evaluate those referrals and respond with findings.  Several assistance resources are also available to many patients on service with Pentec Health.  Lastly, cost due to travel, time away from work, medical transport, child care expense, and intangible costs of quality of life should be considered in the overall cost-benefit analysis.

Who does the refills?

Pentec Health employs over 170 registered nurses across the country who provide intrathecal pump management services to over 6,000 patients. Since 2013, Pentec Health achieved the only ANCC-accredited Intrathecal Nurse Training program worldwide. In 2019, ANCC awarded Pentec Nursing with distinction as an Intrathecal Nurse Fellowship. In short, this means our nurses’ expertise is second to none in the industry.

Who manages the patient’s overall pump/care?

Patients are still managed by their providers who will need to provide orders regarding refills and adjustments. Our nurses complete the refills or adjustments based on those orders. Pentec Health nurses and pharmacy staff strive to collaborate with the patient and the provider. Our staff is available 24/7/365 to patients and providers to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

What safety protocols do you take in the home?

Beyond the standard clinical safety protocols our registered nurses have received during their nursing training, and Pentec’s ANCC accredited training programs, nurses have also been given in-depth instructions on infection control procedures. Our top priority is the health and safety of our patients, associates, and customers, especially in the home and around patients.  The home environment of each patient is assessed for the patient’s safety in the home.