16 national healthcare organizations urge HHS to continue public health emergency

The American Hospital Association and 15 other national healthcare organizations are calling on HHS to maintain the COVID-19 public health emergency.

In a May 10 letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, the organizations cited the continued risk from COVID-19 variants, as well as rising case rates in the U.S.

"Advancements in surveillance have observed rapid variant mutations and while public health experts acknowledge that current variants are not leading to excessive hospitalizations at this time, they also assert that new variants absolutely could," the letter said. "We need to be ready should a future variant elude the protection of our current vaccines and ensure that the healthcare system is prepared as we head into this fall's flu season."

The organizations requested that HHS maintain the public health emergency "until it is clear that the global pandemic has receded, and the capabilities authorized by the PHE are no longer necessary."

The letter comes about a month after HHS said it was renewing the public health emergency to July 15. The extension came as congressional Republicans urged President Joe Biden and Mr. Becerra to end the declaration.

HHS has said it will give states 60 days' notice before terminating the declaration or allowing it to expire. 

To view the full letter, click here

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