Updated Apr 5, 2022 - Health

Biden administration announces new long COVID initiatives

Photo of a worker swabbing a person's nose under a red COVID-19 testing tent
A medical worker collects a swab sample from a person at a COVID-19 testing site in New York City on March 29. Photo: Wang Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

The Biden administration announced Wednesday new initiatives to prevent, detect and treat long COVID.

Why it matters: Millions of people in America are suffering from fatigue, nervous system disorders and other long-term health effects of COVID, but the U.S. does not yet have the infrastructure in place to adequately support people who need treatment.

Details: The new actions include...

  • Launching a multiyear initiative, beginning with $20 million in the 2023 fiscal year, to "investigate how health care systems can best organize and deliver care for people with long COVID, provide telementoring and expert consultation for primary care practices, and advance the development of multispecialty clinics to provide complex care," according to a White House fact sheet.
  • Expanding and strengthening long COVID clinics across the country.
  • Bolstering health insurance coverage for long COVID. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has clarified that states must cover treatments and therapies for long COVID, and it has expanded Medicare coverage for pulmonary rehabilitation services for long COVID.
  • Releasing guidance on how some people with long COVID may have a disability under civil rights laws. The Department of Education has also put out information about schools’ and public agencies’ responsibilities for providing services and reasonable modifications to students who have a disability as a result of long COVID.
  • Boosting services to help connect people to resources, including multilingual support and long COVID-specific trainings for workers who man federal call centers. The Indian Health Service will also train business office and benefits administrator staff to assist tribal communities in navigating long COVID challenges.
  • Launching the National Research Action Plan on Long COVID, an interagency effort that will "advance our understanding of Long COVID, foster the development of new treatments and care models, and inform services, support, and interventions for individuals experiencing Long COVID," according to the fact sheet.

Worth noting: In September, the National Institutes of Health launched a nationwide series of studies with as many as 40,000 participants to research the long-term effects of COVID.

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