In response to the growing need for compassionate, research-based long COVID treatment, we are now offering long COVID treatment options for local patients as well as patients who live outside the state of Alabama.
Long COVID Treatment at MedHelp
Our Long COVID treatment clinic is designed to treat persistent symptoms of COVID-19 following an acute infection. We also treat patients with ongoing symptoms following a COVID-19 vaccination.
Patients who are permanent Alabama residents are now able to schedule in-person appointments with our treatment team. We can also provide remote care to patients who live outside the state of Alabama. All patients receive close monitoring and follow-up throughout the duration of their treatment.
Note: Long COVID treatment is by appointment only. Walk-in visits for Long COVID treatment are not accepted at any time at any MedHelp clinic.
Long COVID Treatment Protocol
Our knowledgeable team of providers has extensive experience in treating patients with long COVID. Every patient receives a thorough evaluation, treatment plan, and a close monitoring follow-up schedule.
Our Long COVID Treatment Protocol includes:
- Testing: We utilize diverse testing and diagnostic tools to provide our team with a clear, up-to-date assessment of your body's systems. Your testing may include chest X-rays, EKGs, laboratory testing, and genetic testing. Other testing may be required.
- Microscopic blood evaluations: Our team has been trained in the use of a state-of-the-art immunofluorescent microscope to evaluate your blood plasma for microclots, which are a known cause of long COVID symptoms.
- Individualized treatment plan: Long COVID-19 is a systemic illness that impacts every patient differently. Your provider will design a treatment plan grounded in research and targeted at your symptoms. This treatment plan may include prescribed pharmaceuticals, natural supplements, and vitamins.
- Close monitoring and follow-up plan: Every patient will be carefully monitored for the duration of their treatment.
Research-Based Treatment Protocols
Jordan F. Vaughn, MD, ABIM
Our Long-COVID treatment team is led by Dr. Jordan Vaughn. As owner and CEO of MedHelp, Dr. Vaughn has directed his organization to the leading edge of early outpatient treatment of COVID-19 for his patients and the greater Birmingham community. He is now committed to using this knowledge to treat vaccine-injured patients or those experiencing Long COVID.
Dr. Vaughn's treatment protocols are driven by an understanding of the spike protein's ability to cause endothelial damage and clotting in the microcapillaries. He also uses immunofluorescent microscopy to diagnose the presence of amyloid fibrin in the blood. Dr. Vaughn is the founder and president of the Microvascular Research Foundation and is a clinical collaborator alongside Dr. Jaco Laubscher, Prof. Etheresia Pretorius, and Professor Douglas Kell.
Katie Taylor, CRNP
Katie Taylor is a family medicine nurse practitioner and is board-certified with the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. She is dedicated to bringing patient-centered, comprehensive, and individualized care to all her patients. Katie brings a functional medicine approach to care and utilizes a diverse and complementary approach to the existing traditional medicine practices.
Summer Powers, DNP, CRNP
Summer Powers is an adult acute care nurse practitioner and is board-certified with the American Nurses Credentialing Center. With experience in treating both acute and Long COVID, she has unique experiences that allow for comprehensive and individualized evaluation and treatment plans, blending traditional and functional medicine. As the parent of a daughter with Long COVID and as a recovered Long COVID patient herself, Summer brings empathy and compassion to the care team by providing patients with firsthand information about treatment and recovery.
Stephanie Ardovino, MSN, CRNP
Stephanie Ardovino is an adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner and is board-certified with the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. After completing her residency in our Long COVID clinic, Stephanie joined our team, bringing with her a diverse background of experience of the aging population as well as critical care of acute COVID patients. Stephanie has been trained in the use of our state-of-the-art medical equipment, which allows her to develop comprehensive care plans for both Long COVID treatment as well as continued recovery and restoration of your functional baseline.
Brittani Stephens, RN, BSN
Brittani has worked in diverse healthcare settings and has served populations all over the country. As our Long COVID RN Care Coordinator, Brittani will ensure that you are heard, understood, and validated throughout your treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Long COVID is defined as lingering symptoms of COVID-19 4 weeks after the initial infection. This may vary from patient to patient but often involves multiple body systems. We will determine if you have long COVID based on a comprehensive intake assessment, an examination, laboratory and diagnostic testing, and a microclot evaluation.
Our team has been trained by world experts to analyze your plasma to evaluate for abnormal microclots, which are thought to be the source of long COVID symptoms. If you are local, we will do this with your other bloodwork. If you are remote, you will be sent a kit to return to us. Analysis may take up to 5-7 business days to perform. Currently, there is no validated lab test in the US to perform this test; therefore, you will not receive an official result, but a picture of your micro-clots and a grade based on a scale from our overseas colleagues.
We treat patients with long COVID symptoms as well as those who have lasting effects from the vaccine. The virus and vaccine both cause a buildup of spike protein in your body, which can lead to microclots. Patients with long COVID have difficulty clearing these microclots.
Most patients will take three different types of blood thinners during treatment. Your provider may also prescribe other pharmaceuticals, natural supplements, or vitamins as deemed necessary.
The duration of treatment varies from patient to patient and is dependent on a number of factors including preexisting medical conditions, the severity of initial COVID-19 infection, and the results of your genetic testing. You can expect to be on the treatment protocol for at least 3-4 months.
Our team will formulate an individual treatment plan just for you. We will ask to see you in our office every few weeks. (Out-of-state patients will have a telehealth visit.) You can expect to have lab work and other tests each time you come, often including microclot evaluation.
Our team will conduct a thorough evaluation of all medications and supplements you are currently taking to make sure there are no interactions. Be sure to tell your care team if you are prescribed any new medications from other providers while on treatment. We will not want you to take ibuprofen or other NSAIDs while on treatment. You may take Tylenol for pain.
There are currently no FDA-approved treatments for long COVID. Our treatment protocol is based on the work of global experts in long COVID treatment who are researching and treating patients in other countries. You can read about their work on our website.
The main risk of taking blood thinners is the risk of bleeding. Although the risk is minimal, you will need to take extra precautions to prevent bleeding and injury while on these medications. If you experience significant bleeding, you should stop your medications and seek immediate care.
Our team has treated over 600 patients, returning most to their pre-COVID baseline. Ongoing effects during and after treatment are dependent upon what illnesses you had prior to your infection and how sick you got with the initial infection.
For the first few weeks of treatment, some patients may experience symptoms similar to their initial COVID infection as the microclots break down. Continued treatment and the addition of new medications may also bring on similar symptoms. Be sure to report anything new to your care team.
We do not recommend any anaerobic exercise while on treatment. You may participate in light activities such as walking and yoga as long as your body feels up to it. As you progress, we will work with you to develop a progressive exercise program.
We would rather you do HBOT therapy before or after treatment, but you are welcome to do ozone therapy. Always discuss any treatment or therapy with your care team prior to doing it.
No, please do not stop any of your medications abruptly. We will work with you to develop a plan to taper off of your medications when you are better. Be aware that some patients with pre-existing medical conditions and certain genetic disorders may have to take some medications even after treatment ends.
While on treatment, we will place you on our acute COVID protocol.
If you test positive after you complete treatment, an in-person visit for local patients or telehealth visit for our out-of-state patients will be needed, but we will place you on our acute COVID protocol. We may also place you on a month of our long covid protocol and monitor you closely to prevent microclot formation.
Our care team will see you periodically in person or through telehealth. You will undergo a series of tests throughout your treatment as well as continued microclot testing to observe for clearance.
For local patients, we take most forms of insurance. Please contact our office to inquire. For out-of-state patients, your insurance may be used for tests and medications, but not visits. We are always happy to answer questions about your insurance coverage.
Your care team will partner with you through this process. We also have a private Facebook group for patients in active treatment to connect as well as a monthly forum where patients can meet for additional support if desired.
It is our goal to treat you for your long COVID symptoms and then return you to the care of your own primary care provider. You will continue to see your other providers during this treatment and we are happy to discuss your treatment plan with them.