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HHS Officially Extends Public Health Emergency For An Additional 90 Days

On Thursday, April 15, 2021, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra announced an extension of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE). This extension will last another 90 days from April 21, 2021. The COVID-19 PHE was initially declared on January 31, 2020 (with acknowledgement that it has existed since January 27). Any PHE declaration can only last for 90 days at a time, but can be extended or renewed. It has already been renewed multiple times, and the 90 day extension that occurred in January 2021 was set to expire on April 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:
  • Medicare’s 25/75 blended rates for non-rural, non-CBA areas
  • An increase to the federal government’s matching funds for Medicaid programs (6.2% increase)
  • ACO shared loss paybacks to CMS
  • COVID-19 testing at no cost to the patient
  • 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/COVID-15April2021.aspx
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