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This Monday Minute will review the extension of the Federal PHE and share some concerns that may impact agencies at the state level.

Hello everyone, welcome to our Monday Minute. Today I want to share with you some information surrounding the extension of the current Federal Public Health Emergency. The Public Health Emergency was set to expire October 2021. That has now been extended to the third week of January 2022. Some very important things to note regarding this extension of the PHE primarily include that there is grave concern over activity that is occurring at the state level. The PHE waivers that have been put in place specifically on the state level with individual states are beginning to expire without renewal or extension. Even though the PHE on a federal basis has been extended and would be applicable on a Medicare federal level, as far as waivers etc. are concerned, there is a question as to how many of them can be expanded and implemented within states where there are specific state PHE waivers that have now expired.

A perfect example is that in the state of California, one of the PHE waivers that was very specific to Home Health agencies was allowing nurse practitioners, physician assistants and certified nurse specialists to sign Home Health orders. That is a federal law that has been passed and implemented from a CMS standpoint, however, it has always carried with it the requirement that it be allowed at the state level. California did allow this in a PHE waiver that expired on September 30, 2021 and it has not been extended. There will have to be legislative action occur before this will again be allowed in the state of California. So this is just one example of state level waivers that have been put in place that we are beginning to see expire without an extension or without being renewed. You need to be very, very aware that even though the Federal Public Health Emergency has been extended, if your state is not allowing some of those specific waivers to be applicable in your state, you will not be able to continue the use of those waivers. You need to make sure you’re clear about that specific element.

In addition to that, I want to mention that phase four of the Provider Relief Funds has been opened for application, the application process began on September 29, and it will only go through October 26 at basically midnight. So you need to make sure that if you are applying or want to apply for the phase four funds that you get that application in by the end of the day on October 26. Understanding that in the phase four application process, you are likely eligible, possibly for some level of funds, if you are Medicare certified, Medicaid certified, have billed Medicare, Medicaid, filed federal tax returns and are currently still providing patient care 2019, 2020 and into 2021. Make sure that you understand it could be a lengthy time before you get a response. They do have to go through the validation process of revalidating, your tax identification number, etc. and of course, review your application and make calculations to determine whether you will be receiving any funds.

We want to thank you all for participating today. We are always thankful that we have Healthcare Providers on the frontlines caring for patients and doing their best to keep us healthy during this Public Health Emergency. Thank you all and I hope you have a great week.

Provider Relief Funds FAQ

https://www.hrsa.gov/sites/default/files/hrsa/provider-relief/provider-relief-fund-faq-complete.pdf