Hospitals await HHS move on public health emergency today

HHS pledged to provide 60 days' notice if it opts to end the COVID-19 public health emergency, leaving healthcare providers awaiting word on Monday.

The American Hospital Association and 15 other national healthcare organizations are calling on HHS to maintain the PHE. 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. 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."

Congressional Republicans have been urging President Joe Biden and HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra to end the declaration for months, penning a letter to them in February to end the declaration of COVID-19 as a public health emergency. 

The Trump administration declared the coronavirus a public health emergency in late January 2020. HHS has continued to extend the declaration since; it is renewed for 90-day increments. The declaration was last extended April 13 with a deadline of July 15. HHS has said it will give states 60 days' notice before terminating the declaration or allowing it to expire. 

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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