Combatting Long COVID

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services granted funding to clinics that assist patients with the treatment of Long COVID.

September 2023- The Journal of Healthcare Contracting

As the nation moves on from the COVID-19 pandemic, some individuals are continuing to experience the debilitating effects of being diagnosed with the disease.

Some individuals who are recover from COVID-19 can go on to develop long-term effects after an initial infection. The ongoing symptoms a patient experiences after infection are referred to as “Long COVID.” Individuals with Long COVID can experience a wide-variety of persistent COVID-like symptoms such as fatigue, cough, shortness of breath, body aches, etc. Long COVID may not affect everyone the same way, and it can last weeks, months or years after an initial COVID infection. Long COVID can also lead to the development of new conditions or disability.

“While estimates vary, up to one-third of people with COVID-19 infections may experience Long COVID,” according to a recent press release from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Funding for Long COVID treatment

The Long COVID healthcare crisis has led to a necessity for health systems to be able to treat the disease. New funding for clinics that care for people with Long COVID, provided by The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), will “expand access to comprehensive, coordinated, and person-centered care for people with Long COVID,” according to the AHRQ press release. The grant funding will help provide clinics with the resources to treat Long COVID, especially clinics that treat underserved, rural, vulnerable, or minority populations. These demographic groups are often unable to access the specialized treatments needed to address the varied and ongoing symptoms of Long COVID.

Health organizations that are eligible include clinics that are specifically able to address the symptoms associated with Long COVID. The clinic must also offer other comprehensive Long COVID healthcare services, such as screening for disease outcomes, rehabilitation, and targeted specialist referrals.

Clinics that receive funding must also assess patients’ social and behavioral needs and personal circumstances when making health-related decisions. Clinics must additionally partner with community-based organizations that have a focus on assisting people with Long COVID. “The grants will help provide resources and services to communities disproportionately impacted by Long COVID, while helping educate and provide information into best practices for Long COVID management,” according to AHRQ Director Dr. Robert Otto Valdez

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