HHS Extends the Public Health Emergency Waivers

On April 12, 2022, Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra again renewed the public health emergency declaration that was initiated at the end of January, 2020, and renewed since then.  You can view the official declaration renewal at this link.  As a result, the 90 day time clock begins again on April 16, and now runs an additional 90 days from that date.  The original declaration from January 2020 can be viewed here.

The impact on clinicians and offices should be minimal as this extension continues all of the special waivers and provisions under COVID-19 on telemedicine, testing, etc.  No new provisions or waivers were put into place at this time.

In terms of Telemedicine (TM) for the remainder of 2022, even if the PHE declaration is not renewed, we’re safe for telemedicine claims and payments under Medicare Part B for quite a while.  The House of Representatives Bill passed HR 2471 (the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022”), and the Senate agreed.  This was passed into Law when the President signed it on March 15, 2022.  This law had the effect of unlinking the TM provisions from the PHE declaration.  Among other things, it makes the current special rules remain in effect until 151 days AFTER the last expiration of the PHE.

We are available and happy to assist you with issues such as this and other topics related to eye care.  We’re proud to assist with questions related to 2021 changes on Evaluation and Management eye exam coding, the increased activity from payers (e.g., Private payers, and the CMS TPE, RAC, and SMRC reviews) so contact us if you need our help with these responses.  Stay safe in this challenging time.

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