CMS Issues “Roadmap” for the End of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
The Department of Health and Human Services extended the COVID-19 public health emergency through Oct. 15 but urges health care providers to prepare for a return to pre-pandemic standards and practices. In fact, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently issued extensive materials providing guidance related to the planned phase-out of various waivers, regulations, enforcement discretion, and sub-regulatory guidance that were utilized to ensure access to care and give health care providers the flexibilities needed to respond to COVID-19 PHE.
According to the documents — issued under the rubric “Creating a Roadmap for the End of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency” (Roadmap) — most of these waivers and broad flexibilities will terminate at the eventual end of the PHE, as they were intended to address the acute and extraordinary circumstances of a rapidly evolving pandemic and not replace existing requirements.
While the Biden Administration officials is committed to giving the health care community 60 days’ notice before ending the PHE, CMS is encouraging health care providers to prepare for the end of these flexibilities as soon as possible and to begin moving forward to reestablishing previous health and safety standards and billing practices.