Long COVID info graphicThere are more than 240,000 Veterans that have tested positive for COVID-19, and that number is growing. The long-term effects of virus are still being understood, but one in ten people who have contracted it may suffer from what has become known as “Long COVID,” which could threaten to become the next public health emergency that will challenge the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) system.

To this end, the VHA Innovation Ecosystem (VHA IE) and the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) are launching an extensive, multi-faceted approach to understanding and treating Long COVID.

And they need your help.

Long COVID is reported by a substantial proportion of individuals who contracted mild to severe COVID-19. They experience persistent, multi-system symptoms for four weeks or more post-infection. Symptoms can range from mild to debilitating, with a high percentage of patients reporting worse health-related quality of life over time. There is an urgent need to provide evidence- and patient-informed clinical care to Veterans for this complex, heterogenous condition. That’s where VHA IE and OCTO come in.

Through this new joint effort, VHA IE and OCTO are advancing work to surface best practices, working alongside VA staff, external health care innovators and Veterans themselves. This effort includes multiple approaches, including a series of interviews with Veterans, caregivers,and staff to better understand the Long COVID experience and how VA can support Veterans suffering from it. The most important factor in guiding the future is understanding the needs of the Veterans themselves, and these interviews will be integral to that understanding, leading to human-centered care and other beneficial processes.

The interviews aren’t the only approach to tackling the challenge of Long COVID, however. To get a deeper understanding of the current state of Long COVID care, VA has launched a VHA-wide environmental scan. VA is also developing innovative clinical decision and support tools that will help staff make informed decisions about Veterans’ care. Through collaborations with researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), VA will create prospective and retrospective qualitative and quantitative studies that will guide the health care industry in Long COVID care. As the largest health care network in the country, VHA is building a cross-facility community of practice to share lessons learned and standardize best practices among direct care providers developing or implementing Long COVID care options.

If you would like to learn more about these or other Long COVID efforts, participate in an interview, or join the VHA Long COVID community of practice, please email VHALongCOVID@va.gov.

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12 Comments

  1. Nels Rima October 7, 2021 at 4:53 pm

    I am interested in more information on Long Covid

    • Amanda October 11, 2021 at 8:53 am

      Nels, sorry about the problem with the email. Please resend and we will connect with you

  2. F W Burckhardt October 7, 2021 at 3:44 pm

    Like the people commenting above I wrote an email to participate in this long covid group and my email was kicked back stating that it delivery is restricted to authenticated senders only. How does one get authenticated. I spent 29 days in the I see you at Bay Pines with covid-19 covid pneumonia I am on oxygen 24/7 and continue to be seen at Bay Pines at least once a month for on going

    • Amanda October 11, 2021 at 8:52 am

      Apologize! We’ve fixed the issue with the email. Can you please resend with your contact information?

  3. Lori O'Hara October 7, 2021 at 10:54 am

    My emails keep getting kicked back. I’ve tried sending through a couple of different email accounts. I am a long covid patient and would love to learn more about this program.

    • Amanda October 11, 2021 at 8:52 am

      Apologies, Lori, we had a difficulty with the email that we have fixed. Please resend!

  4. Martha Williams October 7, 2021 at 9:03 am

    What about those of us who got it before it became known as Covid-19?

  5. Lawrence Fleet October 6, 2021 at 8:08 pm

    The VHAlongcovid@va.gov
    Email is locked out, how can I participate?
    I am a long Covid patient that g had as been in ICU twice and hospital once for a total of 28 days hospitalized and two months since first diagnosed

    • Amanda October 11, 2021 at 8:54 am

      Apologies Lawrence, We had a problem with the email that we have fixed. Can you resend please?

  6. Kathryn Stehens October 6, 2021 at 7:29 pm

    VA has never formally recognized or investigated CFS or ME/CFS as it’s now erroneously called. Long COVID will
    be very much like that; symptoms galore, only treatment of them individually, no meaninful research, etc. I highly
    suggest the first thing you do is BELIEVE the patient.

  7. Linda Lomastro October 6, 2021 at 5:49 pm

    We are both veterans, hubby and I, and both had Covid in January, quite bad. Still have lots of aches and pains. I would be interested in learning what you are working on regarding this.

  8. James F Morrison October 6, 2021 at 4:56 pm

    I am a positive covid veteran with post treatment iv antibody still having breathing, pain, recovery issues.

Comments are closed.

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