WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 22, 2021)—Earlier this month, outgoing HHS Secretary Alex Azar announced that the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) declaration would be renewed for an additional 90-day term, effective January 21. The extension keeps significant measures of COVID-19 relief for our industry in effect until at least April 21, 2021, including:
- Medicare 75/25 blended rate for non-rural/non-bid suppliers and Medicare 50/50 blended rate for rural suppliers.
- NCD/LCD flexibility allowing expanded use of home-based respiratory products/therapy, as well as infusion and anticoagulation devices.
- Waiver of face-to-face requirements for many products; allows use of telehealth for PMD F2F requirement.
- 6.2% increase in Medicaid FMAP match will remain in effect though the end of the quarter the PHE expires, so this relief for state Medicaid agencies will run through at least June 2021.
- State Medicaid waivers and flexibilities tied to the PHE.
- TRICARE reimbursement increases tied to the Medicare rate relief.
New Legislation Seeks to Further Extend Pause of Sequestration Cuts
In December, Congress extended the pause on the 2% Medicare sequestration cuts that were set to expire at the end of 2020 through March 2021. Last week, Reps. Brad Schneider (D-IL) and David McKinley (R-WV) introduced H.R. 315, new legislation to continue the moratorium on the Medicare sequester cuts though the duration of the PHE. AAHomecare will again support this effort and work to generate support from the HME community for the legislation.