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The "Ugly Face" of Long COVID: A Conversation with Steven Flanagan, MD, President-elect, AAPM&R


"We recognized fairly early when long COVID was beginning to show its ugly face, that people were disabled. And although our field doesn't own a particular or single organ system, we do own disability. So we recognized that we had an obligation to really bring attention to what was going to be a very large problem."

In a recent conversation with Patient Care©, Steven Flanagan, MD, president-elect of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPM&R), detailed why and how the Academy has taken a leading role in the health care community's campaign for a large-scale and coordinated federal response to care for the millions with symptoms of post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC), or long COVID. Flanagan describes the success of the advocacy to date. Below, find details on Academy efforts and advocacy and specific consensus guidance statements on managing long COVID symptoms.

Steven R. Flanagan, MD, is president-elect of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Chair, Rehabilitation Medicine, New York University Grossman School of Medicine Medical Director, Rusk Rehabilitation, New York University Langone Health, in New York, New York. (Twitter: @flanagan_RUSKmd)

In March 2021, AAPM&R launched a multi-disciplinary PASC Collaborative of experts to develop clinical guidance to improve quality-of-care and formal education and resources to improve experience-of-care and health equity.

The overarching goal of the Collaborative is to foster engagement and share experiences to propel the health system towards defining standards of care for persons experiencing Long COVID-19/PASC.

To date the Collaborative has published 4 consensus guidance statements on the assessment and treatment of complications in patients with post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2. Please take time to review the AAPM&R guidance statements on long COVID-associated cardiovascular complications, cognitive symptoms, breathing discomfort, and fatigue.

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