July 27, 2020

HHS Extends Public Health Emergency Declaration

On July 23, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary, Alex Azar, officially extended the Public Health Emergency (PHE) declaration. The PHE was set to expire on July 25, but will now be extended for another 90 days.

The American College of Radiology® has been in support of extending the PHE declaration and advocated for the renewal. PHE status has allowed necessary flexibilities and protections to physicians during a time when patients need access to care.

There are various regulatory and payment policy implications surrounding this declaration, which include:

  • Requirements that insurers cover COVID-19 testing without cost-sharing;
  • Telehealth waivers and reimbursement;
  • Adjustments made to the Medicare Shared Savings Program surrounding shared losses; and
  • Medicare inpatient 20% add-on payment for COVID-19 patients.

Those policies that are contingent on PHE status will remain in effect.