On January 30, 2023, the Biden Administration announced their intention to end the COVID-19 national emergency and public health emergency declarations (“PHE”) on May 11, 2023. The announcement was made to comply with the Administration’s commitment to give a notice of no less than 60 days and to give healthcare providers ample time to adjust their practices before temporary PHE allowances end. These allowances, enacted at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, allowed flexibility in coverage for COVID-19 vaccines and tests, telehealth requirements, and insurance coverage, including for Medicaid and Medicare.
While not all flexibilities will end on May 11, 2023, healthcare providers should take note and adapt their practices accordingly. The changes occurring upon the end of the PHE include:
COVERAGE OF COVID TESTS:
- Medicare, Medicaid, and private payers will no longer be required to cover COVID tests;
- Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries may still receive telehealth services and both audio-only and video services will be covered;
- Some states may end their licensure waiver, and no longer allow physicians licensed in other states to practice medicine;
- The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) will end its HIPAA flexibilities for the use of video- and audio-conferencing platforms. Providers must now use a platform that is fully HIPAA compliant;
- DEA-registered providers will no longer be able to prescribe controlled substances without an in-person examination.
For nearly three years, the healthcare system has greatly adapted to the challenges and flexibilities brought about by COVID-19. Although these flexibilities will last another two months, now is the best time for providers to evaluate their current practices and re-align them with the requirements that will arise with the end of the PHE.
If you have questions or concerns regarding the end of the Public Health Emergency, please do not hesitate to reach out to any member of Gardner Skelton’s healthcare team.