Tags Posts tagged with "Public Health Emergency"

Public Health Emergency

As part of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) ongoing efforts to provide up-to-date information to prepare for the end of the Public Health Emergency (PHE) for COVID-19, expected on May 11, 2023, we are providing a new overview fact sheet on CMS Waivers, Flexibilities, and the Transition Forward from the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. COVID-19 efforts have been a significant priority for the current administration, and with the use of whole-of-government approach, the country is in a better place. Over the next several months, CMS will work to ensure a smooth transition back to normal operations.

The fact sheet provides clarity on several topics, including:

  • COVID-19 vaccines, testing, and treatments;
  • Telehealth services; and
  • Health care access.

There are several telehealth flexibilities listed within the document, including the continuation of virtual supervision to the end of the calendar year. See below for an excerpt from CMS’ PHE release:

Virtual Supervision

To allow more people to receive care during the PHE, CMS temporarily changed the definition of “direct supervision” to allow the supervising health care professional to be immediately available through virtual presence using real-time audio/video technology instead of requiring their physical presence. CMS also clarified that the temporary exception to allow immediate availability for direct supervision through virtual presence also facilitates the provision of telehealth services by clinical staff “incident to” the professional services of physicians and other practitioners. This flexibility will expire on December 31, 2023.

What is missing is guidance around the intersect of telehealth and the prescribing of buprenorphine as directed under the Ryan Haight Act of 2008. As part of the CMS Physicians Fee Schedule of 2023, CMS was in the process of writing language extending this as a flexibility. To date, there has been no guidance, though RCPA continues its advocacy efforts with the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, as well as state and federal stakeholders.

Effective January 16, 2022, HHS Secretary Becerra renewed the public health emergency declaration for another ninety days as a result of the continued consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. View the ACCSES Update for more details.

Message from the Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL):

This communication is a reminder that the Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL) is allowed to continue available temporary changes to the CHC waiver, OBRA waiver, and the Act 150 Program under Appendix K, Emergency Preparedness and Response, until six months after the end of the federal public health emergency related to COVID-19.

On October 15, 2021, the federal public health emergency was extended by 90 days; however, it’s possible the federal government will decide to extend the emergency further. Please visit this public health emergency website to see the current and future public health emergency declarations related to COVID-19. OLTL will issue guidance in the future when the Appendix K flexibilities are closer to expiring.

For further information on the available OLTL Appendix K flexibilities, please visit the OLTL Resources page. If you have questions about the information, please contact the OLTL Provider Helpline at 1-800-932-0939.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra has again issued the renewal of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) due to the continued consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The renewal became effective on October 18, 2021 and will extend the PHE into early 2022. This PHE status enables the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to keep all applicable waivers in place.