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Long COVID and Lyme disease clinics set to open

The network, to be coordinated by the Center hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM), will include five referral centers and ten satellite clinics.

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Quebec will open 15 clinics across the province specializing in long-COVID and Lyme disease, Health Minister Christian Dubé announced Thursday.

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The network, to be coordinated by the Center hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM), will include five referral centers and ten satellite clinics.

Announced as a pilot in this year’s provincial budget, the clinics are expected to open in the coming months and remain open for three years, at which time the pilot will be reviewed and services adjusted to needs, Dubé said.

“Long COVID, like Lyme disease in its ongoing form, are diseases that are not yet well understood, both in Quebec and elsewhere in the world,” the health minister said in a statement.

“We want to ensure that people suffering from the consequences of these diseases, like any other patient, receive the services they need. The scientific advances that these clinics will make possible will also greatly help us to better diagnose and treat those affected, thereby enabling them to have a better quality of life.”

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The latest provincial budget provides $20.5 million to establish about 15 referral centers and satellite clinics. Of this, $4.1 million is earmarked for the current year.

The health department says clinics will be serving COVID and Lyme disease for a long time because patients in both cases may need consultations with multiple specialists, making treatment coordination difficult. The research component of the pilot project could lead to a better understanding of the two diseases given the lack of consensus in the scientific community, the health department said.

CHUM, McGill University Health Center (MUHC), CIUSSS Estrie-CHUS, CHU de Québec-Université Laval and CIUSSS Center-Ouest-de-l’îÎle-de-Montréal (Jewish General Hospital) will provide the referral centers. The satellite clinics are operated by: CISSS du Bas-Saint-Laurent, CIUSSS du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, CIUSSS de la Mauricie-et-Centre-du-Québec, CHU Sainte-Justine, CISSS de l’Outaouais, CISSS de Chaudière-Appalaches, CISSS de Lanaudière, CISSS de la Montérégie-Ouest and the Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Québec.

As of December, it was estimated that around 23,000 people would need the services offered under the pilot.

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