We are thrilled to announce a huge 1-2 success in our call to action for the Administration and Congress to create a comprehensive plan to address the needs of individuals suffering from Long COVID or Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC).
1. On March 2, the White House National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan was released, including a section titled “Help Americans with the long-term impacts of COVID-19”:
In recognition of the wide-reaching long-term impacts of COVID-19 on our society, the President will direct the U.S. government to accelerate efforts to detect, prevent and treat Long COVID.
The newly released plan includes the following components:
- Pioneer a national research agenda to advance efforts to detect, prevent and treat Long COVID. To accelerate scientific progress, the President will direct the federal interagency to develop a National Research Action Plan on Long COVID.
- Launch Centers of Excellence in communities across the country to provide high-quality care to individuals experiencing Long COVID.
2. There is newly introduced legislation and attention on Capitol Hill that we endorse in line with our call to action.
- On March 2, Senator Tim Kaine introduced a new bill to help other people living with Long COVID. We have endorsed Senator Kaine’s bill and helped its development, particularly about the need for interagency coordination and the acknowledgement of multidisciplinary care.
- Additionally, we are a key stakeholder informing Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley’s Long COVID efforts, including a new Dear Colleague letter to support funding in the next COVID-19 relief package for Long COVID education, treatment and data collection.
- Members of Congress and the media have been citing our Long COVID dashboard in support of their legislation and actions.
Since March 2021, we have been expressing the needs of this patient population, calling on the Administration for action and promoting the role of PM&R in leading rehabilitation. Thank you to the Administration for hearing us and releasing this important plan. Also a huge thank you to all of our members who are treating Long COVID patients and our volunteer leaders who have spent countless hours to advance these efforts.
What AAPM&R is Continuing to Advance:
- Continuing to Lead through the Development of Clinical Guidance and Models of Care
Our PASC Collaborative was convened in 2021 to address the pressing need for guidance in the care of patients with Long COVID. The collaborative has released three guidance statements so far on fatigue, breathing discomfort and cognitive symptoms to date. Guidance for cardiac impairment, pediatric Long COVID and autonomic issues are planned for release later this year. Our guidance has been disseminated by the CDC and we will continue to work with the Administration to share both guidance and strong models for the Centers of Excellence that HHS Secretary Becerra is looking to fund.
- Advocating that this Action Leads to Increased Support for Rehabilitation Care
The time is now for our government to help patients with Long COVID. Congress must come together and secure urgently needed funding to bolster our country’s healthcare infrastructure to prevent, detect and treat Long COVID with a focus on quality-care and health equity. Our Long COVID Dashboard is the only one of its kind and is an important tool to help estimate and assess the growing population of people with Long COVID and help hospitals, clinics and healthcare professionals across the country prepare and plan for their care.
- Ensuring PM&R Physicians are Recognized as Essential Medical Experts and Indispensable Leaders Early and Across the Continuum of Care
We know PM&R physicians are uniquely qualified to lead Long COVID clinics. As team leaders and problem solvers, your training and expertise is essential to caring for patients suffering from Long COVID. We will continue to advocate from our seat at the table to support the development of the White House National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan as well as to advocate for the newly introduced legislation from Senator Kaine. Additionally, we’re ensuring PM&R is recognized nationally for its role in directing rehabilitation and recovery.