The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced on Aug. 18 that it has developed a road map for the eventual end of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE), which is currently set to end in mid-October. During the PHE, the agency has used emergency waiver authorities to establish regulatory flexibilities for providers that enable access to health care. Most of these waivers and flexibilities will terminate at the end of the PHE.
In the meantime, the CMS is encouraging providers to prepare as soon as possible for the end of the waivers and flexibilities. As part of this initiative, the agency has released provider fact sheets that summarize the current status of the waivers and flexibilities. In addition, the CMS released a Health Care System Resiliency fact sheet. The CMS has developed an initiative for reestablishing program requirements and health and safety standards when the PHE ends, and the agency will continue to seek input and release updated regulatory requirements and subregulatory guidance related to the end of the PHE.
The current PHE is in effect until Oct. 13 and it is anticipated that the Biden administration will extend it for another 90 days until mid-January. The AAMC sent an Aug. 5 letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra urging a renewal to the PHE before it expires in October. To minimize disruptions, Becerra has committed to giving 60 days’ public notice before ending the PHE.