Several COVID-related waivers and flexibilities important to long-term care providers will remain in place at least through July after it was revealed the Biden administration plans to extend the public health emergency declaration again. 

Several national media outlets reported Tuesday that the Department of Health and Human Services will extend the public health emergency declaration.  The administration has said it would give at least a 60-day notice before ending the public health emergency. 

Earlier this year, nursing homes’ top lobbyist, American Health Care Association President and CEO Mark Parkinson, told McKnight’s that getting the emergency declaration extended beyond a scheduled April 15 expiration date was his group’s top priority.

The current public health emergency declaration is set to expire July 15. Federal policy only allows the Department of Health and Human Services to extend it for 90 days at a time.

With another extension, COVID-19 regulatory waivers, such as exceptions to the three-day stay rule and telehealth flexibilities, would be around at least through mid-October. 

A group of 15 healthcare organizations, which included the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living, last week warned that providers and patients could lose those “vital” flexibilities if the COVID-19 public health emergency isn’t extended again.

“Continuing the PHE promotes a state of readiness by ensuring hospitals, health systems, doctors’ offices, nursing homes, clinical laboratories and other providers have the ability to rapidly increase their capacity to care for patients, most effectively utilize their workforce, and pivot to caring for both COVID-19 patients and those in need of ongoing care,” they wrote in a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra.