Renewal of public health emergency keeps waivers and flexibilities intact
The nation's Covid-19 public health emergency has been extended for an additional 90 days beginning April 21, allowing home health and hospice agencies to continue operating under Medicare waivers and flexibilities granted in response to the crisis. The renewal signed by new U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra extends the public health emergency first declared by former Secretary Alex M. Azar at the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis in 2020. This marks the fifth time the public health emergency has been renewed since the original declaration, and the first time it has occurred under the direction of Becerra.
"This renewal of the public health emergency allows for continued regulatory flexibility for agencies, and reflects the nation's continuing priority for ensuring the accessibility of health care during the Covid-19 pandemic," said J'non Griffin, President of Home Health Solution - A Simione Coding Coding.
Pandemic-related waivers and flexibilities were set in place under the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Both allowed the Department of Health and Human Services to waive certain Medicare requirements, or allow agencies flexibility in meeting other requirements. As an example, some telehealth requirements as they relate to Medicare beneficiaries have been relaxed during the public health emergency to allow agencies more flexibility in serving patients. Read the notice of the renewal here.