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HHS Renews Public Health Emergency

On Thursday, July 23rd, HHS Secretary Alex Azar tweeted, “Today I signed a renewal of the COVID-19 national public health emergency declaration. The Administration will continue its whole-of-America response to ensure Americans can get the care they need throughout the pandemic.” 
The COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (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 at the end of each 90 day period. The COVID-19 was already renewed once in April, and that 90 day extension was set to expire on or around July 25. The tweet from Secretary Azar indicates that HHS has extended the COVID-19 PHE. There are several provisions tied to the duration of the PHE that will continue 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

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