HHS Renews Public Health Emergency Declaration for COVID-19

HHS Renews Public Health Emergency Declaration for COVID-19

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar on Thursday renewed the national public health emergency (PHE) declaration which he enacted in January in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The original order was expected to expire on July 25th.

This declaration is effective as of July 25, 2020 and extends the PHE for an additional 90 days until October 23, 2020, or unless earlier terminated by the Secretary. This renewal extends the wide array of waivers and flexibilities that have been issued by HHS in response to COVID-19.

For a list of carriers and their deadlines, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Providers have relied heavily on these flexibilities.  There are several provisions that are tied to the duration of the PHE, including:

  • Waivers of certain telehealth restrictions; including audio-only telehealth for certain services (Medicare)
  • Waivers for out of state practitioners providing services in a state where they currently do not have licensure
  • A 6.2% increase to the federal government’s matching funds for Medicaid programs
  • Waivers of sanctions under the “Stark Law”

Once the declaration of the PHE expires or is terminated, so will be the dependent waivers and flexibilities, unless additional Congressional or administrative action is taken in the interim. The declaration will not extend indefinitely, so providers should be aware of how changes and waivers set in place to respond to COVID-19 will have to be reverted once the provisions end.

HOW CAN WE HELP?

Please feel free to pass along to colleagues who may be interested. We are monitoring this matter very closely. As always, if you have any immediate questions about how these new provisions will impact your practice, please contact Maureen West McCarthy, your current KatzAbosch representative or your other advisors.

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