White House to End COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

by | Feb 9, 2023 | HR Legislation, Uncategorized

President Biden recently announced the United States will end the COVID-19 public health emergency as of May 11, 2023. The date of May 11th is within the Biden Administration’s commitment to provide an advanced 60-day noticebefore ending the programs created during this declared public health emergency. The 60-day notice allows federal agencies, healthcare, and individuals to adequately prepare for possible impacts of loss of federal COVID-19 benefits provided over the last several years.1

Specifically, how might the declared end to the public health emergency (PHE) which began in January 2020 affect the many facets of healthcare? Under PHE, subsidies are issued to hospitals, agencies, health providers, and low-income individuals to relieve some of the financial pressures, workforce shortages and costs of additional equipment and drugs created by this epidemic.2

The officially declared PHE permitted Medicare to provide a higher reimbursement when specifically treating COVID-19 patients. Millions of Americans were temporarily added to the Medicaid roles and given access to Telehealth services and prescribing of medications. An infusion of financial resources was poured into the behavioral health industry to help address the consequences of decline in mental health created by COVID-19 challenges. Veterans and existing mental health patients, along with those in rural areas, may experience reduced access to Telehealth and mediation-assisted treatment (MAT) due to the declared end of PHE, including the increase in opioid use disorder surrounding COVID-19.2

Republican lawmakers have for some time requested the Biden Administration to declare an end to this public health emergency and thus turn off the stream of federal funding accompanying it. President Biden has now responded with an official May 11, 2023 as the date. Some health policy experts have voiced a concern this may be premature, with COVID still significantly impacting American society, especially those most economically vulnerable. All things must come to an end, so the debate remains as to its optimal timing.3

[1] https://apnews.com/article/biden-united-states-government-district-of-columbia-covid-public-health-2a80b547f6d55706a6986debc343b9fe

[2] https://www.chiefhealthcareexecutive.com/view/the-covid-19-public-health-emergency-ends-in-may-here-s-what-it-means-for-healthcare-providers-

[3] https://bhbusiness.com/2023/01/31/covid-19-public-health-emergency-to-end-in-may-but-several-behavioral-health-flexibilities-will-remain/