Bristol Health offering program for those suffering long-term effects of covid-19

By The Bristol Press

April 16, 2021

A program designed for Bristol Health employees suffering from long-term effects of covid-19, aimed at getting them back to work and again able to perform daily life tasks, is now available to the community.

“Why not do it for people who are not our employees?” asked Dr. Khaula Khatlani, Bristol Health's medical director of occupational health.

When the second wave of the virus hit, Khatlani said, many more employees at Bristol Health became infected, and some of them suffered long-term effects like shortness of breath, generalized weakness and cognitive issues such as memory loss and an overall feeling like one’s brain was “in a fog.” These “weirdly persistent symptoms” lingered for weeks or even months after recovering from coronavirus.

“And it’s affecting their daily lives,” Khatlani said, adding that the symptoms “needed to be addressed.”

Bristol Health took a number of services it already offers, including physical and occupational therapy and others, and put them together in a multi-disciplinary, outpatient program known as Post Acute Covid-19 Treatment & Rehabilitation (PACT).

“All we had to do was bring them together,” Khatlani said.

PACT focuses on specialties like cardiac and pulmonary, sleep medicine, neurology and others with a goal of getting people back to work and to a point where they can perform everyday tasks without issue.

“We assess what the need is and send them to appropriate services,” Khatlani said. “Referrals are customized and tailored to each person’s needs.”

Khatlani said a handful of employees have taken advantage of PACT and have given good feedback.

“They are making gradual gains,” she said.

PACT this month became available to the general public by way of either a doctor’s referral or a self referral. Insurance coverage for this type of service is being looked at by the finance department at Bristol Hospital, Khatlani said, but she expressed confidence that insurance companies will be accepting these types of claims for coverage.

Registering for Bristol Health’s PACT program can be done by calling 860-585-3580. Questions about insurance coverage can also be answered on this line.