Long COVID & Fatiguing Illnesses Recovery Program (LC & FIRP)
May 2, 2022
Posted In: Essential and frontline workers, People born outside of the US, People experiencing homelessness, People from racial and ethnic minority groups, People with disabilities, People with substance use disorders
Improve the health of patients in medically underserved communities who have long COVID and other complex chronic conditions with similar symptoms. Many Americans suffering from long COVID have an ongoing illness and/or disability. Communities that are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 have limited access to specialty clinics designed for post-COVID care. Primary care providers serving these communities are also facing challenges in managing complex post-COVID conditions among their patients. More on LC & FIRP
Populations of focus
Essential and frontline workers, non-U.S.-born persons (including immigrants and migrants), people experiencing homelessness, people with lower incomes, people with substance abuse disorders, people with disabilities, people from racial and ethnic minority groups, including Hispanic, non-Hispanic Black, Asian, American Indian/Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander, and others, people from LGBTQ+ communities, older adults (age 65+), and people who are uninsured or underinsured
Family Health Centers of San Diego, University of Washington Post COVID Clinic Rehabilitation and Recovery, The Extension for Community Health Outcomes (ECHO) Institute of the University of New Mexico, Western Regional Public Health Training Center at the University of Colorado, Ata Strategies
LC & FIRP was launched in August 2021 and is funded for three years. Investigators from partner organizations evaluate the use of a distance-learning platform to support primary health care providers (HCP) who care for patients at increased risk of long COVID.
Participating healthcare providers will be randomly assigned to weekly online mentoring sessions with experts who specialize in the care of these conditions, and monthly webinars and other web training on long COVID, or webinars and other web training only. Investigators evaluate patients cared for by providers in each group for improvement. In addition, they compare community-based clinic patients whose HCPs attend the weekly online mentoring, with patients with similar medical conditions cared for by experts at a research center.
Through this study, researchers will determine whether expert support provided online every week helps primary HCPs care for patients with long COVID and similar conditions. Investigators will monitor how primary HCPs grow in knowledge and whether they send patients to appointments with specialists less often. The impact of the monthly webinars, open to HCPs nationwide, will be evaluated by the number of learners, where learners are located, and how much they learned.
Early impact / Lessons learned
The program has attracted 38 nationally recognized faculty/mentors representing multiple medical specialties. They have started a social media discussion group for peer-to-peer sharing of evolving knowledge and emerging clinical practice. Investigators have documented increasing webinar attendance of up to 650 participants and are receiving inquiries indicating interest in participation from HCPs nationally and internationally.
Through this program, CDC has connected with multidisciplinary long COVID clinics throughout the U.S., the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Rural Health office, the Indian Health Service, state and local health departments, and long COVID patient advocacy groups. Word about the program’s distance-learning platform continues to spread to patients, providers, researchers, and others through these networks. The Long COVID and Fatiguing Illness Recovery Program fills a critical community need for health information and clinical support.