Cardiology Coding Alert

Reader Questions:

Discover PHE Expiration Date

Question: Did the COVID-19 public health emergency expire (PHE)?

Alabama Subscriber

Answer: No, the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) is still currently in effect — but an end is in sight.

First: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra renewed the PHE for a 12th time effective Jan. 11. Then on the heels of this renewal, the feds announced an end date. On Jan. 30, the White House released a statement setting the PHE’s end date as May 11. “This wind-down would align with the Administration’s previous commitments to give at least 60 days’ notice prior to termination of the PHE,” the statement notes.

Next: On Feb. 9, HHS sent state governors a letter announcing another COVID-19 PHE renewal, effective Feb. 11. HHS “is planning for this to be the final renewal and for the COVID-19 PHE to end on May 11, 2023,” reiterated Becerra in the letter. “Rather than 60 days’ notice, I am providing 90 days’ notice before the COVID-19 PHE ends to give you and your communities ample time to transition.”

These latest updates follow previous 2022 renewals on Oct. 13, July 15, April 12, and Jan. 14 and 2021 renewals on Oct. 18, July 19, April 15, and Jan. 7. Before that, former HHS Secretary Alex Azar renewed the PHE declaration in 2020 on Oct. 2, July 23, and April 21. The original PHE declaration was effective Jan. 27, 2020.

Reminder: PHEs are extended in 90-day increments per the requirements of Section 319 of the Public Health Services Act and allow for certain 1135 waivers and flexibilities related to various Medicare policies and regulations. Over the last three years, COVID-19 has ebbed and flowed, but the PHE extensions have allowed providers to take advantage of the regulatory leniency and continue to care for patients, which has been a boon to the healthcare industry at large.