New York) – On June 8, New York City’s healthcare leadership from across City Hall, NYC Health + Hospitals and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene held the City’s first Long COVID symposium. The event focused on care coordination for New Yorkers with Long COVID as they navigate the city’s medical and social support systems. The symposium was attended by over 400 city-based clinicians and health and social service providers who offer support for New Yorkers with Long COVID.
“We are still learning so much about COVID-19 and its long-term effects,” said Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. “That is why the recent symposium was so important, as we continue to listen to and support people that believe they may be living with the ongoing effects of the virus. This is just a first step, as NYC Health + Hospitals, Test & Trace and the Health Department continue to work together to learn about and support every New Yorker touched by the virus. Thank you to our partners in government and to the brave New Yorkers who recently shared their health journey with us at the symposium.”
“Long COVID has been difficult for our patients, not knowing when or if they’ll feel like themselves again. As doctors, even when we don’t have a clear answer or treatment, we can always be there to listen, connect to our patients’ experience, and help them live their best life,” said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD. “The Long COVID symposium was a wonderful opportunity for the healthcare community to support one another as we serve our patients with Long COVID.”
“We have a responsibility to the many New Yorkers who have and may be affected by Long COVID to examine this issue thoroughly using a public health lens,”said New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “That starts by advancing longitudinal study and evaluation to better understand risk factors, presentations and short- and long-term clinical and social outcomes from long COVID. But it also means working in close partnership with providers and community actors who play a central role in our understanding of how Long COVID impacts the everyday life and mental and physical wellbeing of New Yorkers, and to address embedded inequities. This event was an important starting point for this effort.”
“Our symposium marks a critical step forward in addressing Long COVID, shining a bright light on a complicated condition affecting many New Yorkers well after their initial COVID-19 infection,” said Dr. Ted Long, Executive Director of the NYC Test & Trace Corps and Senior Vice President for Ambulatory Care and Population Health at NYC Health + Hospitals. “No one should suffer in silence. The New York City medical community’s efforts to come together, listen to patients and share best clinical practices to diagnose, treat and provide health and social services for New Yorkers with Long COVID will be instrumental for our patients’ and our city’s recovery.”
The day-long symposium, Long COVID and the Road to Recovery, educated patient care providers, public health practitioners and members of community-based organizations about best practices for the assessment, referral and treatment of Long COVID — a wide range of new, ongoing or returning symptoms patients may develop after their initial COVID-19 infection. In addition, the symposium enhanced participant’s understanding of the specific social support and benefit needs of patients with Long COVID and resources available for referral, including those offered through the NYC Test & Trace Corps’ AfterCare program. This NYC-specific symposium builds on the momentum of the New York State consortium held in February 2022, and emphasized actionable takeaways for providers to complement New York State’s goals.
“By listening to and learning from our patients’ experiences, we are continuing to learn how to provide comprehensive care for New Yorkers living with Long COVID,” said Dr. Amanda K. Johnson, Director of Take Care at the NYC Test & Trace Corps and Assistant Vice President of Ambulatory Care and Population Health at NYC Health + Hospitals. “It is time to amplify their voices, not only regarding the impact of this condition and its symptoms on their daily lives, but to establish priorities for what support and recovery should look like.”
Introductory remarks were provided by Deputy Mayor Anne Williams-Isom, NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Dr. Katz and NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Vasan, and then the symposium was conducted in four sessions. The sessions covered patient experience, information about best clinical practices (including diagnostic criteria, patient-centered assessments and treatment approaches that promote a continuum of care and patient empowerment) and existing policies and programs to support the physical and financial impact of Long COVID. They were followed by two breakout sessions for clinical and community-based providers.
A complete video recording of the symposium and detailed meeting agenda, including a full list of session moderators and panelists, is available for all who were unable to attend. In addition, the Health Department circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter to all New York City-based providers detailing how they can comprehensively assess their patients for Long COVID, provide treatment and connect them to specialty care and resources.
If you or a loved one are suffering from or think you may have Long COVID, please call 212-COVID19 (212-268-4319), select your preferred language and press 4 to speak directly to an AfterCare navigator. Please visit the AfterCare website and review the Long COVID recovery guide for more information about Long COVID and the resources available to you.
Patients can also be referred to NYC Health + Hospitals’ COVID-19 Centers of Excellence, which offer dedicated short and long-term follow-up care for Long COVID patients, including pulmonary care and supplemental oxygen, cardiological care, diagnostic radiology services, comprehensive mental health services, and examination rooms with special technology to safely isolate patients who may have COVID-19.
“It was an incredible experience of human interconnectedness to participate in the Long COVID symposium,” said panelist Dr. Emma Kaplan-Lewis, HIV Clinical Quality Director, Assistant Professor of Infectious Disease, Office of Population Health at NYC H+H. “I was glad to be able to hear the powerful stories of the brave individuals who shared their experiences both on the screen and in the chat.”
“Raising awareness and sharing information and resources through a symposium like this was incredibly valuable,” said panelist Rachel Potter, LCSW, Social Worker at Mt. Sinai. “We still have a lot to learn about Long COVID and how to best support these patients.”
“The NYC Health + Hospitals Long COVID symposium was an important milestone in the collective local efforts aimed at addressing this novel yet ongoing public health problem,” said panelist Dr. Lawrence Purpura, MD, Infectious Disease Physician, New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “It was an honor to participate and share my clinical and research experiences with Long COVID with this NYC-based audience.”
About the NYC Test & Trace Corps
The NYC Test & Trace Corps is the City’s comprehensive effort to provide accessible, no-cost COVID-19 testing, support those infected or exposed to the virus with quarantine and isolation resources, and provide connections to treatment for eligible New Yorkers. Through a partnership with NYC Health + Hospitals and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Test & Trace Corps allows the City to immediately isolate and care for those who test positive for the virus. To help all New Yorkers safely separate and monitor their health status, the Take Care pillar of the Test & Trace Corps also offers free meal delivery and other quarantine resources.
About NYC Health + Hospitals
NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest public health care system in the nation serving more than a million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations across the city’s five boroughs. A robust network of outpatient, neighborhood-based primary and specialty care centers anchors care coordination with the system’s trauma centers, nursing homes, post-acute care centers, home care agency, and MetroPlus health plan—all supported by 11 essential hospitals. Its diverse workforce of more than 43,000 employees is uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible. For more information, visit www.nychealthandhospitals.org and stay connected on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NYCHealthSystem or Twitter at @NYCHealthSystem