There are several new drugs that are meant to help fight COVID-19 once a person has already contracted the virus. As with all prescription drugs, however, it requires a doctor's prescription; something that may be difficult to obtain if you don't actually have a primary care doctor. Luckily, a hotline has been recently set up for New Yorkers in that exact circumstance. Here's how it works, and what happened when I called.

COVID-19 in the Hudson Valley, NY

I avoided COVID-19 for two and a half years, but this week it finally hit our household. Unfortunately, I had a problem (well, two if you count COVID): even though I'd been back in New York for over a year, I had yet to find doctor. I was interested in seeking treatment right away, but had no access to a medical professional who would write me a prescription. That's where the TREAT-NY hotline comes in.

1-888-TREAT-NY Hotline in New York

The TREAT-NY hotline (1-888-TREAT-NY) was established in July of 2022. The Governor's Office describes the new program as a way to provide "a much-needed resources for families who may not have immediate access to healthcare professionals." This number was specifically created to help New Yorkers outside of New York City, too, regardless of their income level or health care coverage. Service is 24/7, and "operated by experienced Health + Hospitals professionals who have the clinical training to prescribe treatment and referrals if needed". On Tuesday, I gave them a call.

NY Governor's Office/Aphithana via Canva
NY Governor's Office/Aphithana via Canva
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Calling the TREAT-NY Hotline

Perhaps the most helpful part of the hotline is that nothing is automated. After a brief welcome message, I found myself immediately talking to a human being. They asked for my name, address, health insurance information, and of course the reason for my call. Within a few minutes I was talking to a medical professional about my illness and symptoms, and talked treatment options. The entire process, from when I picked up the phone to hanging up, took just 15 minutes. Within the hour, my wife was home with the prescription I had been prescribed.

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While every person is different and you should talk to a healthcare provider about the best treatment options for yourself, this hotline can be a massive resource for any New Yorker needing treatment (or even information) quickly once they have tested positive for COVID-19. In addition to the hotline number, a website has also been created. Visit it here.

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