Cedars-Sinai Launches COVID-19 Recovery Program
New, System-Wide Program Connects Patients Who Have Long-Term COVID-19 Symptoms to Network of Specialists Providing Comprehensive Care
Cedars-Sinai has launched the COVID-19 Recovery Program to meet the needs of a growing number of COVID-19 patients who experience lingering symptoms weeks and even months after physicians say they are virus-free.
In the multidisciplinary program, patients receive a comprehensive in-person evaluation with an expert in infectious diseases or pulmonary medicine who can refer them to a network of specialists including cardiologists, pulmonologists, neurologists and psychiatrists. Patients also can gain access to clinical research trials and contribute to a deeper understanding of the long-term health effects of COVID-19.
Most patients require no more than two appointments with their COVID-19 Recovery Program physician, who works with them to determine when specialized care under the program is no longer necessary. Once any needed specialty consultations are completed, the program physician partners with the patient's primary care specialist to transition the patient back to their care. However, if new or lingering symptoms arise, the COVID-19 Recovery Program physician will continue working with the patient and their primary care provider.
While some people recover from COVID-19 without any noticeable issues, many experience continuous, ongoing symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, headaches, fatigue, brain fog, anxiety, depression, or loss of taste or smell.
And with Southern California's recent surge of COVID-19 infections, medical experts say the COVID-19 Recovery Program is urgently needed.
"Given the sheer number of people worldwide who have had COVID-19–more than 90 million–if even 1% experience symptoms beyond three months, that is a huge number of patients who need help," said program co-director Catherine Le, MD, an infectious disease specialist with Cedars-Sinai Medical Group. "For some patients, we are the first physicians they've seen in person since their diagnosis. Even if we don't have all the answers right now, it puts many of our patients at ease to speak with an expert and get a complete evaluation."
We want our patients and the community to know that we're not only here to care for them during this crisis, but we're here to support them in the long term as well.