HHS expected to renew COVID-19 PHE for 11th time

HHS is set to extend the COVID-19 public health emergency by its standing deadline of Oct. 13.

HHS last renewed the PHE July 15 for another increment of 90 days with a pledge to provide states with 60 days' notice if it decided to terminate the declaration or allow it to expire. Aug. 14, the date in which states would have 60 days' notice, came and went without updates or notifications from the agency, suggesting the declaration will extend.

If renewed on the deadline of Oct. 13, the next deadline would be Jan. 11, 2023.

This would make for the 11th renewal of the PHE since its declaration in January 2020 by former and current HHS secretaries Alex Azar and Xavier Becerra, respectively. The renewal would occur as HHS plans to shift costs of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments to the commercial market, a process beginning this fall that is expected to take months. 

Hospitals have advocated for the PHE's extension. In July, the Federation of American Hospitals, which represents investor-owned or managed hospitals, urged HHS "in the strongest terms possible" to renew PHE through 2023.

"While we all long for the day when we can declare the emergency over, that day is not yet in sight for America's hospitals," FAH CEO Chip Kahn wrote in his July 27 letter to Mr. Becerra. Mr. Kahn urged HHS to not only renew the PHE for another 90 days by its current deadline of Oct. 13, but to "send a clear signal that an additional 90-day extension may be necessary."

For an overview of the flexibilities tied to the PHE and what occurs when the declaration ends, check out a comprehensive brief from Kaiser Family Foundation here.

 

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