On July 19, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra, JD, renewed the public health emergency declaration related to the COVID-19 pandemic before it was set to expire on July 20. The declaration will last an additional 90 days and may be renewed if the public health emergency continues to exist.
The declaration was initially issued by former HHS Secretary Alex Azar on Jan. 31, 2020, and it has been renewed several times. It provides the administration with a set of flexibilities and authorities to help the nation respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including expanding access to telehealth services and increasing the Medicaid Federal Medical Assistance Percentage.
The HHS has previously indicated that the public health emergency will likely remain in place throughout the rest of 2021 and that it will provide states with 60 days’ notice when a decision is made to terminate the declaration or let it expire.