The End of the Public Health Emergency

Author: Andrew Martinez

Biden announces plans to end national emergency involving COVID-19

On January 30th, the White House Administration announced that President Biden plans to extend the term of the two national emergencies involving the COVID-19 pandemic to May 11th, 2023. This adjustment in protocol would alter the way that the nation treats the COVID-19 virus and would dramatically change the way that the healthcare industry operates.

While the federal government may alter the way that it views the virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) still classifies COVID-19 as a public health emergency. After considering the information provided by outside experts, WHO has decided to extend the duration of this public health emergency for now.

Details regarding how the federal government plans to phase away from this policy have not been made clear yet, however, opinions from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have relayed that the changes should be made gradually instead of suddenly terminated. The OMB’s concern mainly stems from the notion that, “An abrupt end to the emergency declarations would create wide-ranging chaos and uncertainty throughout the health care system.” Considering this, the Biden administration believes it would be better to extend the termination of these national emergency policies as it will give the nation more time to adjust instead of using the previously set dates of March 1st and April 11th, 2023.

What does this change mean for the healthcare industry?

As stated earlier, Biden’s plan to end the two national emergencies involving COVID-19 would alter the way that the healthcare industry will treat the virus. At an endemic level, the virus can now be managed through agencies’ normal authorities. Furthermore, ending these national health emergencies will alter the way that healthcare providers report their activity and collect reimbursements. During the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare providers have experienced significant leeway on multiple facets of their operation including things like reporting requirements and physical environment standards. Moreover, some providers may no longer receive the reimbursements they had been collecting during the height of the pandemic.

In addition, what qualifies someone for Medicaid will surely change as Congress has already created a plan to enable states to remove ineligible patients from receiving the benefit. This is a significant adjustment because providers were unable to remove patients who no longer qualified for receiving Medicaid during the peak of the COVID-19 health emergency. Medicaid patients will need to apply for renewal when the national emergency comes to a close.

How can Public Consulting Group (PCG) help providers adjust to this change?

Since providers will no longer have the same flexibility in how they have reported their activity in the past, becoming more specific will be a large transition for the healthcare industry. PCG is very involved at the provider, state, and federal level and has a wide range of experience in creating the most effective strategies for reporting health care provider activity. PCG is partnered with many organizations, including the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), to spread information and develop programs to help the provider community. IAFC is hosting the annual Fire-Rescue Med Conference (virtual) on May 16th, in which PCG will be a presenter covering topics related to Medicaid Supplemental Payment Programs and billing practices. Registration to the event can be found here.

It is important to note when and how these policies for Medicare and Medicaid coverages will change. For more information on specific policies, their description, and how this national emergency adjustment will affect them click HERE.




Posted by Nora Culeton

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