On May 11, as the Biden administration ended the Public Health Emergency for COVID-19, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), alongside Representatives Don Beyer (VA-08) and Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), reintroduced the Targeting Resources for Equitable Access to Treatment for Long COVID (TREAT Long COVID) Act.
The TREAT Long COVID Act is much needed legislation that will direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide dedicated grant resources for the expansion of Long Covid Clinics. In partnership with community advocates, the bill text was adjusted to prioritize grant funding for entities who engage with Long Covid patient organizations.
“We have a moral obligation to support the millions of COVID long haulers in America and ensure they are not ignored, left out, or left behind in our recovery,” said Rep. Pressley. “We’re re-introducing the TREAT Long Covid Act to let our long haulers know that we see them and we won’t stop fighting to get them the accessible treatment that they need and deserve. Rather than leave our most vulnerable – particularly those in Black, brown, and historically marginalized communities – out in the cold, we must provide the necessary resources to set us all on a path to long-term recovery from the pandemic. This bill will help us do just that.”
“Millions of Americans suffer from Long Covid, and in many cases the symptoms of this disease are more harmful than the initial infection,” said Rep. Beyer. “Our bill would provide crucial funding to support the creation and expansion of multidisciplinary Long Covid clinics to provide affected Americans with treatment for the physical and mental toll of the disease. Even as the pandemic recedes, there remains a staggering need for these services, which still are not receiving the level of attention and response from policymakers that they deserve.”
The TREAT Long Covid Act:
- Authorizes HHS to award grants up to $2,000,000 to health care providers, including community health centers
- Grants funding for the creation and expansion of multidisciplinary Long Covid clinics to address the physical and mental health needs of patients;
- Prioritizes funding for health providers that plan to engage Long Covid patient organizations, medically underserved populations, and populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19
- Ensures that treatment is not denied based on insurance coverage, date or method of diagnosis, preexisting conditions, or previous hospitalization
- Encourages ongoing medical training for physicians in Long Covid Clinics and other health care workers serving patients
- Requires grantees to submit an annual report on its activities that includes evaluations from patients
The bill requires that the Secretary of Health and Human Services report to Congress on the activities of the grantees, and that those reports include recommendations for expanding coverage for clinical care for Long Covid and its associated conditions (such as ME/CFS).
Solve supports the bill, and VP of Advocacy Emily Taylor noted, “We’re pleased that the TREAT Long Covid Act will deliver desperately needed resources for Long Covid care, and will prioritize funding those providers who are committed to health equity.”
In 2022, a different version of the TREAT Long Covid Act was introduced in both the House (HR 7482) and the Senate (S 4015), but failed to advance.