Kansas is a rare state without a lengthy COVID clinic, leaving some patients far from specialists

For someone like Guyer, the closest clinic would be in Denver – about a three hour drive. Burke said local clinics and hospitals typically cannot afford to open their own long-term COVID clinics.

“It’s difficult for people in more rural places, less affluent places, to access long-term COVID care simply because … COVID clinics,” Burke said.

She would like to see more federal funding to help more rural hospitals offer long-term COVID clinics.

“The intervention of the federal government and the establishment of these clinics and centers in more rural areas,” said Burke, “is really crucial.”

But even in urban areas with lengthy COVID clinics, wait times can be maddening.

Kansas had a lengthy virtual clinic for COVID during the height of the pandemic. The University of Kansas Health System in Kansas City, Kansas opened the online clinic to existing KU patients in early 2021, then opened it to the public a few months later.

Debbie Hamilton was referred to KU’s long term COVID clinic, but she was told she would have to wait three months after having COVID for an appointment.

“I had high hopes and… I just felt like I literally took a beating whenever I was told that,” she said.

Hamilton had COVID in 2021 and never fully recovered. She described her cognitive issues that made it difficult for her to drive, shower and be in a room with others, including her own family. Dealing with her symptoms and having to constantly advocate for her medical treatment was mentally taxing.

“It’s horrible,” she said. “Feeling like a failure; feeling that you cannot function; feeling…not even smart anymore. Feeling like the doctors just think you’re crazy.”

Even as a nurse, Hamilton struggled to navigate doctors and appointments. A doctor told her that they “didn’t do COVID”.

“Why is that an option to say?” said Hamilton. “These patients are having so much more. It’s causing autoimmune problems. It’s causing heart problems. It’s causing breathing problems.

It took about a year for Hamilton to recover enough to get back to work. She believes the clinic is also a way to just acknowledge that the long COVID is real and give people a place to feel validated.

“There needs to be a clinic because I think it’s much more widespread than people think,” Hamilton said.

limited consciousness

While Kansas has no lengthy COVID clinics, Missouri has five. Two in Kansas City, two in St. Louis and one in Columbia.

The Doctor. Zachary Holliday works at Missouri University Health Care’s Columbia Clinic. In one room, a bicycle and a treadmill are nestled next to each other and next to a machine that patients blow on to test breathing capacity.

“It measures lung function and it comes down to how much air someone can get in and out and how quickly,” he said.

Kansas is a rare state without a lengthy COVID clinic, leaving some patients far from specialists

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