HHS extends COVID-19 public health emergency for another 90 days

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has extended the COVID-19 public health emergency for another 90 days and potentially for the final time. 

The PHE, which gives key flexibilities to providers and states, will not expire in July. The PHE was originally expected to expire April 16. 

It remains unclear whether HHS will extend the emergency for a second time this summer, but providers will likely know the answer in a month. HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra has promised a 60-day heads-up to providers and states that the PHE will end. 

The PHE went into effect in 2020 at the onset of the pandemic and granted major flexibilities to providers and states. It gave more flexibility to providers to waive key reporting requirements and removed barriers to telehealth reimbursement under Medicare. 

In addition, states may not drop anyone off Medicaid rolls for the duration of the PHE. States are readying to examine thousands of Medicaid enrollees to redetermine whether they are eligible.

Some members of Congress and provider groups have wanted HHS to give even greater lead time, but Becerra has indicated he will not go beyond the 60 days. He has also previously said any decision will be based on the science and the status of COVID-19 in the country. 

COVID-19 cases have spiked in recent weeks due to a new subtype of the omicron variant.