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COVID-19: Long COVID-19 Initiative; Sotrovimab Authorization Limited

President Joe Biden on April 5 announced an interagency national research plan on long COVID-19, a prolonged illness that develops after COVID-19. Biden also directed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to issue a report detailing services across federal agencies to help people experiencing long COVID-19, a COVID-19–related loss, and mental health and substance use issues made worse by the pandemic.

In other planned actions, the administration will establish Centers of Excellence through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to promote evidence-based care models for long COVID-19; invest $20 million, beginning in fiscal year 2023, to foster best practices for long COVID-19 care; provide telementoring and expert consultation for primary care practices; and support multispecialty clinics that provide complex care.

Leveraging existing long COVID-19 clinics, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health plans to launch the Health+ project to study patient experiences. The administration also pledges to improve provider education, including through targeted education on the ICD-10-CM code established in 2021 to support long COVID-19 diagnosis, billing, and tracking; as well as telementoring networks in rural and medically underserved communities.

Additionally, the administration commits to expanding insurance coverage for long COVID; raising awareness of long COVID-19 as a cause of disability; and accelerating enrollment in the Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery (RECOVER) Initiative, which comprises longitudinal observation, pathobiology studies, electronic health record studies, and clinical trials.

Sotrovimab Authorization Limited as BA.2 Subvariant Spreads

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced April 5 that sotrovimab, a monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19, is no longer authorized for use in any U.S. region, citing a rise in COVID-19 cases caused by the omicron BA.2 subvariant of SARS-CoV-2. The authorized dose of sotrovimab is unlikely to be effective against the BA.2 subvariant, which has caused more than 50 percent of COVID-19 cases in all HHS regions.

The HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response paused sotrovimab distribution on April 5. Antiviral treatments Paxlovid and Lagevrio, as well as monoclonal antibody bebtelovimab, remain authorized and available for distribution.

CMS to Cover Second COVID-19 Booster Shot

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced April 6 that it will pay for a second booster shot of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine without cost sharing. This comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that individuals 50 and older, along with immunocompromised individuals, receive a second mRNA booster shot.

Visit the America’s Essential Hospitals coronavirus resource page for more information about the pandemic.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Emily Schweich is a senior communications associate for America's Essential Hospitals.

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