In the wake of the outbreak, the Federal Government has yet again extended the Covid-19 public health emergency for the upcoming 90 days and that extends up to October
23rd. The first extension to the emergency in January’20 was extended in April till July 25th, 2020. There has been a renewal in the PHE once, in the month of April, and the Health and Human Services in the U.S. is again set to renew it due to the prevalent scenario caused by Covid-19. This is the second major extension of the public health emergency in the United States and unless the secretary terminates the emergency or extends it any further, this health emergency will end on 23rd October.
The Additions in PHE Policies
With the extension of the emergency, there are going to be several changes and renewals in the policies as well. The federal government has made the requisite changes in these policies to offer maximum help to the U.S. Population. Numerous regulatory adjustments and the payment policies are attached to this public health emergency; hence, the said extension is welcomed by the healthcare providers.
The safety of Medical providers is prioritized during the Covid-19 emergency. All the flexibilities implemented by the Department of Health for Covid-19 remain intact.
Some of the notable policies attached to PHE are:
– Increased Medicare Matching rates
– Telehealth restrictions waivers
– 20% add-on-payment for the COVID-19 Patients
Health providers should be aware that all the states may vary in ending the Public Health Emergency which is why they need to be flexible. This directly means that the Medicaid, local education agency expansion, commercial insurance and temporary state licensing may have differences in the ending date.
The federal waivers allowing Non-HIPAA complaint and Telephonic technology will end with the end of the PHE. If the emergency is not extended for again, these will end on 23rd October.
A lot of school districts and commercial insurers have extended the telehealth access for the new extension of the PHE. Several policies which would have disappeared by now, will now be extended with numerous additions.
CMS has made adjustments with Medicare shared Savings Program for the ACOs i.e. the Accountable Care organizations. Due to the PHE, CMS is refraining from the application cycle in the year 2020 for an agreement from January 1, 2021 and is offering voluntary elections for the eligible ACIS to either extend their agreements or maintain BASIC track level for Year 2021 commencing from June 18, 2020. These are all connected with the length of the PHE. The total number of months that the emergency would last is going to pose an impact on the total amount of the shared losses. The Accountable care Organizations will have to pay back to the CMS after all.
The administration plans to ensure the care that Americans needs during the pandemic and with the extended healthcare services, they aim to deliver what they promise.