April 13, 2022
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) must renew the federal public health emergency (PHE) related to COVID-19 every 90 days to maintain certain health care flexibilities and waivers. The PHE has been in place since January 27, 2020, and renewed throughout the pandemic. The latest HHS extension for the PHE is effective through July 15, 2022.
In a letter to the state Governors, the Administration has indicated they will give at least a 60-day notice before the PHE ends. ASHA recently urged HHS to extend the PHE in a letter to Secretary Xavier Becerra [PDF]. In addition, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022 (P.L. 117-103) provides a 151-day extension to some flexibilities, once the federal PHE ends. With this PHE renewal and the additional 151-day extension, ASHA expects certain flexibilities will continue until at least the end of 2022, such as continued access to audiology and speech-language pathology telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries.
With each extension, numerous flexibilities and waivers remain in effect, including Medicare telehealth coverage of audiology and speech-language pathology services and relaxed Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements.
Clinicians should be aware that states may have different dates for ending local PHEs. This means that temporary state licensing, Medicaid, commercial insurance, and local education agency expansions and flexibilities could end at different times than the federal PHE. It is important to check with your state and payers to ensure compliance with changing laws, regulations, and coverage guidelines.
ASHA will post updates on the status of the PHE to this page and will advocate for another 90-day extension if circumstances warrant.
ASHA provides information regarding coverage of telepractice services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Contact email@example.com for additional information.