AAPM&R is Calling for a Comprehensive National Plan to Address the Needs of Millions Suffering from Long COVID

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.

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 meeting the needs of millions of individuals suffering from the long-term symptoms of COVID-19, and help them regain quality of life and return to being active members of their communities. The plan must include a commitment to three major components:

  • Resources to build necessary infrastructure to meet this crisis
  • Equitable access to care for patients
  • Research to advance medical understanding of Long COVID

PM&R physicians are uniquely qualified to help guide the multidisciplinary effort needed to develop a plan for this crisis. As a specialty, physiatrists are investigators, team leaders and problem solvers. PM&R physicians see the whole patient AND the whole picture of the rehabilitation ecosystem. Physiatrists are exactly what this crisis needs. Learn more about our Multidisciplinary PASC Collaborative, launched in March 2021, which is working on quality improvement initiatives.

AAPM&R Advocacy, Healthcare Collaborations and Partnerships, and Customized Resources to Support PM&R During This Crisis

AAPM&R is working to ensure PM&R is part of the national conversation about healthcare amidst COVID-19 and advocating for the federal support, legislation, regulation relief and resources that physiatrists need now. One way we are doing this is through our partnerships and collaborations with other specialty societies. The Academy continuously works to represent PM&R through these collaborations, and it is through these partnerships that we are able to discuss and share a variety of resources with you that you critically need.

Stay Up-to-Date

The Latest Provider Relief Fund Updates from HHS

May 08, 2020

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) continues to release updates regarding the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund allocations released over the past month. Providers who received a payment through this program and intend to keep the money are required to complete an attestation through the HHS attestation portal, which includes verification of the amount(s) received and an agreement to abide by the Terms and Conditions. HHS has also provided FAQ resources. We note that both the Terms and Conditions and the FAQ resources have changed over time and could do so again in the future.

Earlier this week, HHS announced:

  • A refined formula HHS is using to calculate total allocations for all providers. This formula may result in some providers having received funds in excess of the amount HHS calculates as due to them under the new formula, while other providers may now be eligible for additional allocation.
  • A public release of the names of providers who have received allocations through the program and have attested to the terms and conditions. This public release includes the name, city, state, and amount of allocation for each provider.

AAPM&R offers the following considerations as providers are reviewing the program and determining next steps:

  • With the release of new information about the Provider Relief Program, some providers may be considering whether or not to return these funds and not participate in the program. If you have already signed the attestation, it is our understanding that you do still have the option to return funds and withdraw your attestation. This can be achieved by asking your bank to remit the full amount of the allocation and by contacting the CARES Provider Relief Hotline at (866) 569-3522.
  • Under the updated formula, a provider’s total Provider Relief Fund allocation can be estimated by dividing your “gross receipt sales” or “program service revenue” by 2.5 trillion and then multiplying by 50 billion – ((gross receipts or sales) / 2,500,000,000,000) * 50,000,000,000. This estimate may result in an amount lower than the amount the provider already received (we anticipate this may be the case for providers for whom Medicare fee-for-service revenues are between 32-33% or higher of total revenues). HHS FAQs have indicated that HHS will not seek to recoup funds for overpayments made from the Provider Relief Fund; however, the FAQs are subject to change, and this statement is not formalized as a promulgated regulation.
  • In addition to completing the attestation, HHS is also asking those who have received funds to submit revenue information through a general distribution portal. Submission of revenue data would provide HHS with the information they need to make further allocations if additional funds are available.

We recognize that there is continued confusion around this program. As we understand it, HHS has pushed to get funds out to providers as quickly as possible, making it challenging to keep HHS’ informational resources and communications up-to-date. We continue to urge caution with respect to accepting the allocated funds and advise a detailed review of the terms and conditions with a legal, financial, and/or tax professional. In addition, we recommend maintenance of detailed documentation of decision-making related to the allocations received, and if the money is spent, a detailed accounting of how the money was utilized given the HHS statements that recipients will be subject to future reporting requirements and audits.