Biden Administration to End COVID-19 PHE on May 11

The White House announced its plans to end the COVID-19 national emergency and the public health emergency (PHE) on May 11, 2023. This information was conveyed via a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) in response to proposed legislation to terminate the PHE (H.J. Res. 7).

The pertinent passage from the SAP follows:

The COVID-19 national emergency and public health emergency (PHE) were declared by the Trump Administration in 2020. They are currently set to expire on March 1 and April 11, respectively. At present, the Administration’s plan is to extend the emergency declarations to May 11 and then end both emergencies on that date. This wind-down would align with the Administration’s previous commitments to give at least 60 days’ notice prior to termination of the PHE.

To be clear, continuation of these emergency declarations until May 11 does not impose any restriction at all on individual conduct with regard to COVID-19. They do not impose mask mandates or vaccine mandates. They do not restrict school or business operations. They do not require the use of any medicines or tests in response to cases of COVID-19.

NPA has urged the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to consider options to extend the critical regulatory flexibilities, or temporary enforcement discretions, for PACE organizations beyond the PHE. We will provide more information regarding those discussions and prospects for extension beyond the PHE.

Additionally, pursuant to the year-end federal appropriations bill (the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023), states may begin Medicaid eligibility redeterminations and renewals on April 1, even though the COVID-19 PHE is not slated to end now until May 11. Also on April 1, the 6.2 percent enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) rate, authorized by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, will begin to decrease, ending completely on Dec. 31.

Given that dual-eligible beneficiaries likely have experienced fewer changes in their circumstances than other Medicaid beneficiaries during the three-year PHE, PACE participants may not be as impacted by the redetermination process. However, PACE organizations still should use this opportunity to provide input to their states and to work collaboratively to engage participants and their families in the redetermination process to ensure that any loss of coverage is minimized and that eligibility determinations continue to be processed in a timely manner.

Please reach out to Katie Pahner, vice president of Regulatory Affairs, or Liz Parry, senior director of State Policy, with questions.

COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Extended

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently renewed the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) declaration, effective Jan. 11, 2023. The 90-day extension, which lasts through April 11, 2023, will allow for a continuation of the temporary enforcement discretions extended to PACE organizations to help them address the challenges they face due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Note that the latest extension marks the 11th renewal of the PHE since the initial declaration in January 2020. HHS previously indicated it would provide at least 60 days’ notice to states and stakeholders prior to the expiration of the PHE, putting the date for this advance notice on or around Feb. 10, 2023 (should this be the final PHE extension). NPA has urged HHS to consider options for extending these critical regulatory flexibilities, or temporary enforcement discretions, for PACE organizations beyond the PHE.

Information on COVID-19 and NPA Efforts to Assist PACE Organizations

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In addition, NPA has designated the Emergency Preparedness e-Community as the primary location for NPA members to exchange information related to COVID-19. If you are not already a member of the e-community, click here to select it. 

NPA recognizes that PACE organizations are actively responding to the challenges presented by COVID-19. As part of those efforts, we recommend that PACE organizations take the following steps:

COVID-19 Policy and Advocacy Resources

NPA is working every day with regulatory, legislative and state policy staff as PACE organizations confront the COVID-19 pandemic. You can access an overview of NPA congressional and regulatory activities, our COVID-19 congressional requests and a request for targeted Medicare Part A relief for expenses related to COVID-19.

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Preventive Actions

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the COVID-19 virus. WHO and CDC recommend everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases. These include the following:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds whenever you return home, after coughing or sneezing, after caring for the sick, before eating, after using the toilet, and after handling animals or animal waste.
  • If you cannot wash your hands, use alcohol or an alcohol-based sanitizer.
  • When coughing or sneezing, use the crook of your arm to cover your mouth or use a tissue. Throw the tissue in a closed bin, then wash your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. The CDC believes the virus can spread within six feet, so keep at least that much distance between yourself and someone showing symptoms.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
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