We are thrilled to announce that yesterday, the White House issued a Presidential Memorandum, as part of its National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to coordinate a new effort across the federal government to develop and issue the first-ever interagency national research action plan on Long COVID, among numerous other high-level proposals to address the Long COVID crisis.
Back in March 2021, we called on the Administration 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 Long COVID or Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC).
Our call to action included components that are all now included in the White House plan:
- Resources to support necessary rehabilitation care infrastructure to address the needs of individuals with Long COVID, including support for multidisciplinary Long COVID clinics and local health systems.
- The White House plan includes launching “Centers of Excellence” in communities across the country to provide high-quality care to individuals experiencing Long COVID. In collaboration with patients, payers and providers across the care continuum, the Administration will accelerate and disseminate clinical support and best practices to promote coordinated, integrated care models and expand access to high-quality care in communities across the country.
- Equitable access to care for all individuals affected by Long COVID, including access to safety-net care such as disability evaluations, protections and benefits.
- The White House plan calls on federal agencies to specifically address the long-term effects of COVID-19 on high-risk communities and efforts to address disparities in access to services and supports—including pregnant people, individuals with disabilities, and those from the communities hardest hit by the pandemic. Additionally, the Administration for Community Living and other agency efforts will continue to support older adults and people with disabilities in accessing services and support related to Long COVID.
- Continued funding for research that advances a fundamental understanding of Long COVID and rapid dissemination of best practices to mitigate its effects.
- The White House plan calls for a government-wide effort to develop the first-ever interagency National Research Action Plan on Long COVID to guide efforts by the National Institutes of Health, the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Labor and the Veterans Administration.
Thank you to the Administration for continuing to hear us and issuing next steps for this critical action plan! And, THANK YOU to all of our members who are treating Long COVID patients and our volunteer leaders, especially those involved in AAPM&R’s multi-disciplinary PASC Collaborative who have spent countless hours to advance these efforts. We can’t do this without you!
What Happens Next:
- We will continue to take our seat at the table to support the development of this plan. This will also be a priority area for our upcoming AAPM&R Day on the Hill with Congress later this month.
- Through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the President’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget proposes a multi-year initiative, beginning with $20 million in FY23, for the Centers of Excellence, to investigate how healthcare systems can best organize and deliver care for people with Long COVID. With 35 Long COVID clinics established across the country, our PASC Collaborative is well positioned to be a key resource to AHRQ in these efforts.
Learn more about what we are continuing to advance, including guidance statements from our PASC Collaborative, Long COVID Dashboard and more.