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Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Managing the Aftermath of COVID-19

Posted By: Advancing Care

WMCHealth launches the Post-COVID-19 Recovery Program for people with ongoing COVID-19-related health issues.

By Lisa Cesarano
As seen in the December 2020 Issue of Advancing Care.

When COVID-19 struck in early 2020, Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) responded with experienced and dedicated staff, robust telemedicine services and one of the first large-scale diagnostic-and-antibody-testing programs in the state.

“A number of people who tested positive were sick and did not have a primary care doctor,” recalls Gary Rogg, MD, of WMCHealth Advanced Physician Services, Internal Medicine, in Hawthorne. “While more severe cases were admitted or treated in the Emergency Department, others made appointments with WMCHealth primary care physicians, who were able to effectively monitor and treat them using telemedicine.”

But as infection rates abated in the tri-state area, a syndrome began to emerge. “We began to notice that there were patients experiencing symptoms and complications that persisted months beyond the resolution of their infection,” recalls Dr. Rogg. “We noticed that some people were just not getting completely better – and it wasn’t only those were who were older or with pre-existing conditions.”

In fact, says Dr. Rogg, “A number of patients — a good 60 to 70 percent — complained of ongoing symptoms.” These included fatigue, headache and cough, shortness of breath, muscle weakness, joint pain, mental health concerns, such as “fogginess,” confusion, anxiety, depression — and even hair loss. “We knew we had to provide a resource for the ongoing care of these patients,” says Dr. Rogg.

Could the WMCHealth Post-COVID Recovery Program Help You?

  • Did you or someone close to you have a COVID-19 exposure, or test positive for COVID-19?
  • Did you have any symptoms or become ill at that time?
  • If yes, do you still have any symptoms or feel that you are not fully recovered physically or mentally?
  • Do you have any other health conditions that you are concerned about following your COVID-19 infection?
  • Have you seen a primary care doctor to see if you need follow-up care?

Novel Virus, Comprehensive Treatment Approach

Located on the Valhalla campus of Westchester Medical Center, the flagship hospital of WMCHealth, the Post-COVID-19 Recovery Program provides access to a multidisciplinary team of physicians with expertise in primary care, pulmonology (lungs), cardiology (heart), nephrology (kidneys), psychiatry (mental and emotional health), radiology and other specialties as needed.

“It all starts with primary care,” explains Shaunte Johnson, LPN and Patient Navigator for Post-COVD-19 Recovery Program. A primary care doctor will give you a physical exam and review your COVID-19 history. Then, a clinical patient navigator will be assigned to guide you through a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs for specialized care. “It’s not a one-size-fits-all treatment,” says Johnson.

Help Is a Call or a Click Away

To schedule an evaluation or refer a patient, please call 1.833.329.0095 or
visit www.westchestermedicalcenter.org/wmchealthpostcovid19recoveryprogram.