On Oct. 2, the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), Alex Azar, renewed the public health emergency (PHE) declaration due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Effective Oct. 23, 2020, the date the PHE was set to expire, the declaration will be extended for another 90 days through Jan. 21, 2021.
PHE status has allowed necessary flexibilities and protections to physicians during this time when patients need access to care. The extension has several policy implications surrounding telehealth provisions, Medicare and Medicaid blanket waivers, interim final rule policies, and other flexibilities that are dependent on the state of a PHE.
This is the third time that the PHE declaration has been extended.