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COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Extended Again

COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Extended Again

Medicare Medicaid Private Duty Government Affairs & Advocacy

Courtesy of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice

The Biden administration has renewed the Public Health Emergency (PHE) that has been in effect since January 27, 2020, due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the following statement on January 11, 2023:

As a result of the continued consequences of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)  pandemic, on this date and after consultation with public health officials as necessary, I, Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services, pursuant to the authority vested in me under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act, do hereby renew, effective January 11, 2023, the January 31, 2020, determination by former Secretary Alex M. Azar II, that he previously renewed on April 21, 2020, July 23, 2020, October 2, 2020, and January 7, 2021, and that I renewed on April 15, 2021, July 19, 2021, October 15, 2021, January 14, 2022, April 12, 2022, July 15, 2022, and October 13, 2022, that a public health emergency exists and has existed since January 27, 2020, nationwide.

This latest renewal of the PHE will last for 90 days, at which point it will lapse or be renewed again.

The Biden administration is likely to face pressure from Republicans in Congress to end the PHE, but some flexibilities created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as telehealth, were extended for two years by the spending deal reached at the end of 2022.

A PHE declaration permits, among other things, emergency use authorization of vaccines, access to funding to address the emergency, and deployment of military trauma care providers.

Renewing the public health emergency declaration ensures health care providers and state and territorial health departments have continued flexibility to respond to the pandemic, helping save lives.

HHS will provide states and territories with no less than 60 days' notice prior to the termination of the public health emergency declaration for COVID-19.

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