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Our National Call to Action Regarding Long COVID


Members & Publications

AAPM&R called on President Joe Biden and Congress to gear up for the next coronavirus crisis, by preparing and implementing a comprehensive national plan focused on the needs of millions of individuals suffering from the long-term symptoms of COVID-19.

According to two recent publications from the Journal of the American Medical Association, ten to thirty percent of individuals who had COVID-19 reported at least one persistent symptom up to six months after the virus left their bodies. That means 3 to 10 million Americans are experiencing symptoms of Long COVID or Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), which are varied and ongoing, including neurological challenges, cognitive problems such as brain fog, shortness of breath, fatigue, pain, and mobility issues.

"We must act now to form and implement a national crisis management plan that will help Americans impacted by PASC not only survive COVID-19 but regain their quality of life and return to being active members of their communities"
- Stuart M. Weinstein, MD, FAAPMR, AAPM&R President

 

The comprehensive national plan should include the following:

Resources to Build Necessary Infrastructure

  • Rehabilitation care infrastructure and funding to meet this crisis.
  • Resources that local health systems need for the necessary facilities and supplies to support patients and provide expert care.
  • Appropriate reimbursement for care.

Equitable Access to Care for Patients

  • Timely and local patient access to multidisciplinary care.
  • Address inequities in the U.S. healthcare system that result in diminished access to sustained quality care because of racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic factors.
  • Access by patients who do not recover quickly to strengthened safety-net care, including disability evaluation and benefits.

Research to Advance Medical Understanding of Long COVID/PASC

  • The Academy applauds Congress for funding research, and the current efforts of the NIH, WHO and CDC to advance our understanding and research of Long COVID-related issues.
  • As research is conducted, results are needed in real-time to support providers in rapidly developing best practices for care.

About PM&R

Physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R), also known as physiatry or rehabilitation medicine, aims to enhance and restore functional ability and quality of life to those with physical impairments or disabilities affecting the brain, spinal cord, nerves, bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. A physician having completed training in this field is referred to as a physiatrist. Unlike other medical specialties that focus on a medical “cure,” the goals of the physiatrist are to maximize patients’ independence in activities of daily living and improve quality of life.

Physiatrists are experts in designing comprehensive, patient-centered treatment plans, and are integral members of the care team. They utilize cutting-edge as well as time-tested treatments to maximize function and quality of life for their patients, who can range in age from infants to octogenarians.

Learn more about PM&R

Learn more about the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation