HHS Extends Public Health Emergency, Including Telehealth Flexibility, Until April 2021

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar has extended the public health emergency declaration around the COVID-19 pandemic for the fourth time.

The emergency declaration was installed on January 31, 2020, and launched a series of waivers suspending federal oversight and reporting requirements, including those that increased flexibility for telehealth coverage. These waivers allow more types of providers, such as physical therapists, mental health counselors, and others, to bill Medicare for telehealth services. They also allow for reimbursement of audio-only telehealth services for all providers.

Previously scheduled to expire January 21, 2021, the emergency has been extended until April.

Source: Fierce Healthcare, January 8, 2021.