The Final COVID-19 PHE Renewal
On Friday, February 10, US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Becerra renewed the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) for 90 days. As previously announced by the Biden administration, this is the planned final COVID-19 PHE renewal ending the PHE on May 11, 2023. Secretary Becerra will host a briefing call today to discuss the end of the PHE.
The announcement has already begun a flurry of activity from the administration to address and clarify how to transition temporary policy changes that were put in place during the PHE and are set to expire with it. CMS has already updated more than a dozen provider-specific fact sheets, providing guidance and information on certain waiver end dates to physicians, hospitals, long-term care facilities, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, federally qualified health centers, laboratories, and Medicare Advantage and Part D plans, among others.
Of note, the House of Representatives is in recess the next two weeks. The Senate is scheduled to be on recess next week, but committee work is happening.
In health, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) Committee will hold its first hearing with new leadership—Chairman Sanders (I-VT) and Ranking Member Cassidy (R-LA)—this week to examine health workforce shortages. The healthcare workforce faces a variety of challenges, including shortages across all professionals, workplace violence issues and burnout. In addition, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on transparency and accountability relating to pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).
With the House and Senate out next week, the healthcare preview and podcast will not be produced next week. Stay tuned the week of February 27th for our next edition.