The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) extended the federal public health emergency (PHE) for another 90 days, through January 20, 2021. The PHE, which was set to expire on October 23, 2020, has been in place since January 27, 2020, and must be renewed every 90 days.
With the extension, numerous flexibilities and waivers remain in effect, including Medicare telehealth coverage of audiology and speech-language pathology services and relaxed Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements. In addition, many commercial insurers and school districts have extended enhanced telehealth access for the duration of the PHE.
Clinicians should be aware that states may have different dates for ending local PHEs. This means that temporary state licensing, Medicaid, commercial insurance, and local education agency expansions and flexibilities could end at different times than the federal PHE.
ASHA will continue to monitor the status of the PHE and advocate for a continuation as the current declaration nears its next expiration date in January, if circumstances warrant an additional extension.
ASHA provides information regarding coverage of telepractice services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.