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HHS Releases PHE Transition Roadmap

A Feb. 9 fact sheet from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) outlines the status of policies and flexible options granted during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) following the Biden administration’s announcement that the PHE will end May 11.

Many COVID-19 PHE policies already have been made permanent or otherwise extended. The following policies will not be affected by the end of the PHE, according to the fact sheet:

  • Access to COVID-19 vaccinations and certain treatments, such as Paxlovid and Lagevrio.
  • Use of pathways for emergency use authorizations for COVID-19 products (tests, vaccines, and treatments) through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • Coverage of major telehealth flexible options for those participating in Medicare or Medicaid.
  • The process for states to begin eligibility redeterminations for Medicaid.
  • Access to buprenorphine for opioid use disorder treatment in opioid treatment programs.

HHS anticipates the following changes in the months ahead:

  • Expiration of certain Medicare and Medicaid blanket waivers and flexibility for health care providers.
  • Loss of coverage for free, over-the-counter (OTC) COVID-19 tests for Medicare Part B enrollees.
  • End of requirement to cover both OTC and laboratory COVID-19 tests with no cost-sharing for those enrolled in private insurance. State Medicaid programs must provide this coverage until September 2024.
  • End of HHS’ authority to require test reporting data from labs and a reduction in hospital data reporting.
  • End of requirement for device manufacturers to notify the FDA of significant interruption in manufacturing and discontinuances of certain medical devices.
  • Initiation of the rulemaking process to extend health care providers’ ability to dispense controlled substances safely via telemedicine without an in-person interaction,

HHS will continue to review the flexibility and policies implemented during the COVID-19 PHE to determine what can and should stay in place to ensure adequate facilitation of care and resources during the transition period.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Faridat Animashaun is a policy analyst at America's Essential Hospitals.

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