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HHS Extends PHE By An Additional 90 Days

On Thursday, January 7, 2021, former HHS Secretary Alex Azar announced an extension of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE). This PHE was initially declared on January 31, 2020 (with acknowledgement that it has existed since January 27th). Any PHE declaration can only last for 90 days at a time, but can be extended or renewed. It has already been renewed multiple time throughout 2020, and the 90 day extension that occurred in October 2020 was set to expire on or around January 21. There are several provisions tied to the duration of the PHE that will remain in place due to the extension of the PHE, including:

  1. Medicare’s 25/75 blended rates for non-rural, non-CBA areas
  2. An increase to the federal government’s matching funds for Medicaid programs (6.2% increase)
  3. ACO shared loss paybacks to CMS
  4. COVID-19 testing at no cost to the patient
  5. Waivers of certain telehealth restrictions and other policy changes or waivers

You can see the official announcement of the extension here: https://www.phe.gov/emergency/news/healthactions/phe/Pages/covid19-07Jan2021.aspx

VGM will continue to keep you updated on this and other topics related to COVID-19 at www.vgm.com/coronavirus.

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