HHS extends COVID-19 public health emergency

Anna Lowe/Pexels

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) extended the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency declaration ahead of its expiration on January 21, according to an announcement made Thursday by HHS Secretary Alex Azar.

The public health emergency declaration is now set to expire in April 2021. The renewal continues several key provisions and waivers, including telemedicine flexibilities, that integrative practitioners have come to rely on throughout the pandemic. The agency waived some requirements for telehealth, allowing more types of providers to bill Medicare for their services. It also granted waivers for reimbursement of audio-only telehealth services to all providers.

This is the fourth time the agency has extended the declaration, with the last renewal on October 2, 2020.  The emergency was first announced on January 27, 2020.

Editor's note: Click here for more information and ongoing COVID-19 updates for integrative healthcare professionals.