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.

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Advocacy Updates: Telehealth

Apr 08, 2022

The President’s Budget, released in late March, documents that the Administration is committed to supporting a temporary extension of broader telehealth coverage under Medicare beyond the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) to study its ability to promote proper use and access to care.  The budget requests $45 million for telehealth, which is a $9 million increase over FY 2022 enacted levels.

On March 15, 2022, President Biden signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022, which included extending Medicare Telehealth Flexibilities for 151 days following the end of the PHE. Given that the PHE is expected to end in July, this will likely put us at the end of December. Your Academy previously joined more than 330 organizations in submitting a letter to Congress urging their leadership to keep telehealth waivers in place through the end of 2024 and then pass permanent, evidence-based telehealth legislation for implementation in 2024. Through investments and extension flexibilities, we expect telehealth will be a priority for Congress and Administration in 2023.

AAPM&R continues to monitor opportunities that push for permanent telehealth reform and comprehensive coverage. Please visit the Academy website for additional information about our telehealth advocacy efforts, including our recent support for payment parity.