HHS to Extend COVID-19 PHE Another 90 Days

Effective Oct. 23, the renewal keeps several key regulatory relaxations and relief policies and programs in place.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar has declared that he will renew the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) for another 90 days, starting on Oct. 23.

Azar noted in a public statement that he made the decision after consulting with public health officials. The Secretary first declared the COVID-19 PHE on Jan. 21. He subsequently renewed it on April 21 and July 23.

A statement from the American Association for Homecare noted that the extension will perpetuate key policy relaxations and relief programs in effect until at least Jan. 21, 2021. These include:

  • Medicare 75/25 blended rate for non-rural/non-bid suppliers (according to AAHomecare’s analysis, these areas are receiving rate increases of about 30 percent overall).
  • Medicare 50/50 blended rate for rural suppliers.
  • NCD/LCD flexibility allowing expanded use of home-based respiratory products/therapy, as well as infusion and anticoagulation devices.
  • A waiver of face-to-face requirements for many product, as well as allowing the use of telehealth for power mobility face-to-face requirement.
  • A 6.2 percent increase in Medicaid FMAP match will remain in effect though the end of the quarter the PHE expires, so this relief for state Medicaid agencies will run through at least March 2021.
  • State Medicaid waivers and flexibilities tied to the PHE.
  • TRICARE reimbursement increases tied to the Medicare rate relief.


About the Author

David Kopf is the Publisher HME Business, DME Pharmacy and Mobility Management magazines. He was Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy from 2008 to 2023. Follow him on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/dkopf/ and on Twitter at @postacutenews.

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