Patient-centered treatment cares for those with ongoing symptoms

Banner Health now provides specialized, patient-centered, multidisciplinary care to meet the health needs of children and adults experiencing COVID-19 symptoms 30 days after their initial diagnosis.

Since the pandemic began, Banner has been offering Long COVID treatment to address the lingering and debilitating symptoms of the disease among its patients and as a result has developed a system-wide, comprehensive approach to Long COVID care.

Banner Health continues to be in the front lines providing testing centers and vaccination clinics, COVID care, including caring for the sickest of patients, treating those who are experiencing long COVID symptoms, providing monoclonal antibody treatments, and safely providing essential medical care through enhanced safety protocols for patients and team members.

Although most people with COVID-19 improve within weeks of contacting the illness, some do not. The number of COVID-19 patients who continue to experience a range of COVID-19 symptoms more than 4 weeks after their diagnosis is estimated at 30%. Even those who are not hospitalized and who have mild illness can experience persistent symptoms or long-term effects. Symptoms include tiredness or fatigue, abnormal sleep patterns, difficulty thinking or concentrating (sometimes referred to as “brain fog”), headache, loss of smell or taste, fast- beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations), chest pain, shortness of breath, cough, joint or muscle pain, depression, anxiety and fever.

“Banner’s approach to long COVID care is specific and intentional, tailored to address the unique needs of each patient, as COVID affects each person differently. Similarly, patients require care across multiple disciplines, making communication and quick turnaround times essential. We want to ensure our patients that we are able to care for them at all points in their COVID journey,” said Marjorie Bessel, chief clinical officer at Banner Health.

Dr. Bethany Bruzzi, medical director of care coordination at Banner – University Medicine Tucson, worked with Banner physicians throughout Banner’s health care system to establish the new program to ensure patients are receiving the right care at the right time to help alleviate and treat their specific symptoms. Banner’s comprehensive approach includes specialist from pulmonology, internal medicine, family medicine, behavioral health, cardiology, neurology, pharmacy, ear/nose/throat, integrative medicine, sleep medicine, access to telemedicine and diagnostic radiology.

“Our multiple disciplines collaborate to provide the highest quality patient care and experience and ensure joint accountability for patient outcomes. Full integration across all aspects of patient care, including referrals, compliance, and clinical support, help ensure our patients are receiving the best treatment at every stop on their care journey,” said Dr. Bessel.

In addition, the patient-centered, comprehensive approach for Long COVID treatment includes patient access to new long COVID research including clinical trials underway at Banner and nationally.

Patients interested in scheduling an initial Long COVID appointment can call 844-549-1854 or visit the Banner website to learn more: www.BannerHealth.com/LongCOVID.