U of U Health opens COVID-19 ‘long-hauler’ clinic

Image: CDC

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, June 3, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — University of Utah Health has opened a post-COVID-19 care clinic in an effort to provide more comprehensive and coordinated care for patients who continue to endure lingering effects of the disease.

The clinic, which began accepting appointments on June 1, will offer medical services to self-described COVID-19 “long-haulers” in the Mountain West who have one or more symptoms that have persisted for weeks or months after initial infection, said a news release from U of U Health.

“I’ve heard from a lot of long-hauler patients that they want care from someone who will listen to them and take them seriously,” said Jeanette Brown, M.D., PhD, the medical director of the new clinic and a pulmonologist who is an assistant professor of Internal Medicine at U of U Health. “Our goal is to address their needs in the best and most effective ways we can in an environment where precision, patient-centered care is paramount.”

In the 455 days since the first COVID-19 case was reported in Utah, more than 406,000 incidences of the disease have been confirmed in the state, the news release said. In most of those cases, the viral infection ran its course without lingering symptoms. But for some, the effects of the disease have persisted. Overall, studies show up to 30% of COVID-19 patients experience post-infection symptoms, Brown said.

These symptoms, ranging from mild to debilitating, include:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Cough
  • Joint pain
  • Chest pain
  • Memory, concentration, or sleep problems
  • Muscle pain or headache
  • Fast or pounding heartbeat
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Fever
  • Dizziness when standing
  • Worsened symptoms after physical or mental activities

To address these problems, clinic patients will be evaluated by an advance practice clinician or a nurse who, in consultation with Brown, will coordinate care with physicians and practitioners in 10 specialties:

  • Dermatology
  • Cardiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT)
  • Infectious Disease
  • Nephrology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry
  • Pulmonary
  • Social work

Coordinating through a single provider will help specialists concentrate on what they can specifically do for a patient as part of an overall care plan.

“I can stay focused on their shortness of breath or other pulmonary issues, knowing that they’re going to get the cardiovascular or neurological care they might need without me having to reach out to my colleagues in those departments,” said Mary Beth Scholand, M.D., an associate professor in Pulmonary Medicine at U of U Health who will be participating in the clinic. “It’s going to allow us to be really directed and efficient, hopefully leading to better care for these long-term COVID patients.”

In addition to patient care, the clinic will also conduct research on the long-term effects of COVID-19 in hopes that it will lead to better treatments.

The clinic will also have educational learning collaborative sessions to help providers learn more about post COVID-19 symptoms. This will provide support for care providers as well, Brown said.

For appointments and additional information, phone: 801-213-0884.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here