Post-COVID clinics get jump-start from patients with lingering illness


A question of feasibility

Financing is the largest obstacle, program proponents said. Many hospitals lost substantial revenue to canceled elective procedures during stay-at-home periods.

“So, it’s not a great time to be pitching a new activity that requires a start-up subsidy,” said Glenn Melnick, PhD, a professor of health economics at the University of Southern California.

At UCSF, a select group of faculty members staff the post-COVID clinics and some mental health professionals volunteer their time, said Dr. Santhosh.

Dr. Chen said he was able to recruit team members and support staff from the ranks of those whose elective patient caseload had dropped.

Dr. Jackson said unfortunately there’s not been enough research into the cost-and-clinical effectiveness of post-ICU centers.

“In the early days, there may have been questions about how much value does this add,” he noted. “Now, the question is not so much is it a good idea, but is it feasible?”

Right now, the post-COVID centers are foremost a research effort, said Len Nichols, an economist and nonresident fellow at the Urban Institute. “If these guys get good at treating long-term symptoms, that’s good for all of us. There’s not enough patients to make it a business model yet, but if they become the place to go when you get it, it could become a business model for some of the elite institutions.”

Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation), which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


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