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How the COVID-19 Emergency Declaration Supports our Pandemic Response

July 21, 2022

This month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) renewed the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Declaration through mid-October.

The renewal ensures the extension of critical COVID-19 public health flexibilities that have supported health care providers and patients throughout the pandemic. This is the 10th time the declaration has been renewed.

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra signed the renewal of the public health emergency last week. The extension comes as hospitals and public health leaders are following the emergence of Omicron subvariants and the steady rise in new COVID-19 cases. Becerra has said HHS would provide at least 60 days’ notice before allowing the declaration to expire.

The extension of the declaration allows the following key health care waivers and flexibilities to remain in place:

  • Expanded use of telehealth through Medicare, allowing patients to receive care from their home for a wider array of services, such as behavioral health
  • Improved access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines
  • Preventing Medicaid enrollees from being disenrolled during the emergency period
  • Expediting the review of COVID-19 tests and treatments for emergency use authorization
  • Providing workforce flexibilities that have increased hospitals’ capacity to care for patients

The most recent renewal follows advocacy from the American Hospital Association and other groups that have urged the federal government to help ensure hospitals have the resources they need during the pandemic.

“Your continued support for additional resources to combat the COVID-19 threat is strengthened by the fact that the PHE continues to be in place,” the national advocacy coalition said in a recent letter.

HAP will continue to monitor the latest COVID-19 public health developments and provide updates to members. More information about the COVID-19 public health waivers is online. For questions, contact John Myers, HAP’s vice president, federal advocacy.