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

Long COVID Legislation Reintroduced to Improve Research and Boost Access to Resources and Education

Mar 17, 2023

On March 15, the Comprehensive Access to Resources and Education (CARE) for Long COVID Act, was reintroduced by Senators Tim Kaine, Edward Markey and Tammy Duckworth. Initially introduced in the 117th Congress in March 2022, this legislation is intended to improve Long COVID research as well as provide resources for people living with the condition. AAPM&R has been a long-time advocate for this bill. We have not only officially endorsed it, but significantly impacted the language used in the legislation and helped its development, particularly about the need for interagency coordination and the acknowledgement of multidisciplinary care.

Endorsing this legislation aligns with our vision to ensure physiatrists are indispensable leaders in directing rehabilitation and recovery. Showcasing the specialty’s medical expertise in assessing and treating patients with Long COVID helps us continue to advance our Long COVID advocacy efforts to position PM&R physicians as leaders in multi-disciplinary care.

The CARE for Long COVID Act would:

  • Accelerate Long COVID research by authorizing the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in coordination with the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), to centralize and synthesize robust datasets regarding patient experiences with Long COVID and related conditions for future research
  • Improve understanding of Long COVID treatment efficacy and disparities by authorizing HHS to study the healthcare system’s response to Long COVID and provide recommendations for how to improve that response
  • Educate Long COVID patients and medical providers through efforts at the CDC to develop and disseminate information on common symptoms and treatment for Long COVID and related conditions
  • Facilitate interagency coordination to educate the public, including employers and schools, on the impact of Long COVID and the rights associated with employment, disability status and education for individuals with Long COVID
  • Develop partnerships between community-based organizations, social service providers and legal assistance providers to help individuals with Long COVID access needed services

Thank you to Senators Kaine, Markey and Duckworth for reintroducing this critical legislation! And, thank you to all of our members who are treating Long COVID patients and our volunteer leaders involved in our multi-disciplinary PASC Collaborative. We will continue to work with Senator Kaine and other key Congressional champions as they bring further attention to this important issue in Congress. Learn more about the Academy’s Long COVID efforts.