CMS approves pulmonary rehabilitation for people suffering from long COVID

February 21, 2022

Effective January 1, 2022, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) is now covering pulmonary rehabilitation for people who have had confirmed or suspected COVID-19 and experience persistent symptoms that include respiratory dysfunction for at least four weeks. People with other health insurance may want to confirm whether pulmonary rehabilitation is covered by their insurance.
 
Pulmonary rehabilitation is an individualized program of exercise and education tailored to patients with lung problems. After an assessment of a patient, a multidisciplinary team develops an individual treatment plan. Depending on the patient’s condition and treatment plan, the rehabilitation may include three, 60-minute sessions a week for up to 36 sessions.
 
“The benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation may include an increase in respiratory function that enables patients to be more comfortable exercising and performing their normal activities of daily living. Rehabilitation strengthens lung function and circulation, decreasing symptoms and also helping patients better manage anxiety and depression,” said Dr. Sultan Niazi, Medical Director of Pulmonary Rehabilitation at Goshen Hospital.
 
For CMS to allow coverage for pulmonary rehabilitation, patients must have had a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19. In addition, patients must have had at least four weeks of persistent symptoms that include respiratory dysfunction. CMS is not requiring hospitalization, proof of COVID testing or a pulmonary function test. If you are interested in participating in pulmonary rehabilitation, you will need a referral from your primary care physician.