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Fall 2020 - Innovation

HHS Extends COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

At the end of July, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) extended the national public health emergency declared for the COVID-19 pandemic, which grants COVID-19 payment and regulatory flexibilities, for another 90 days. “The Administration will continue its whole-of-America response to ensure Americans can get the care they need throughout the pandemic,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar.

HHS has released a wide range of waivers and regulatory flexibilities during the pandemic to support healthcare providers. These include Medicare payment and billing changes with a goal of closing the funding shortfall experienced by many organizations as a result of COVID-19. For example, Medicare will pay a 20 percent add-on payment for inpatient hospital COVID-19 patients for the duration of the public health emergency. Medicare also released waivers for COVID-19 patients during the emergency period, including the longterm care hospital (LTCH) site-neutral payment policy, the LTCH 50% Rule and the inpatient rehabilitation facility 3-Hour Rule. HHS has also implemented key telehealth payment and coverage flexibilities during the public health emergency, including expanded coverage of telehealth services delivered to Medicare beneficiaries in a wider range of locations. In addition, the department allows for higher reimbursement rates for the newly allowed telehealth services.

HHS is contemplating making some of the waivers and flexibilities granted during the public health emergency permanent. For example, significant adoption of telehealth services during the pandemic has led the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to consider lasting changes to Medicare coverage of telehealth and higher reimbursement for the services.

References

LaPointe J. HHS Extends Public Health Emergency, COVID-19 Payment Flexibility. Rev Cycle Intelligence, July 27, 2020. Accessed at revcycleintelligence.com/news/hhs-extends-public-healthemergency-covid-19-payment-flexibility.

BSTQ Staff
BioSupply Trends Quarterly [BSTQ] is the definitive source for industry trends, news and information for the biopharmaceuticals marketplace. With timely and critical information, each themed issue covers topics ranging from product breakthroughs, industry insights and innovations, up-to-the-minute news on the latest clinical trials, accessibility, and service and safety concerns.