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HHS extends COVID-19 PHE another 90 days


July 29, 2021

by A.J. Plunkett (aplunkett@decisionhealth.com)

The declaration of a public health emergency (PHE) on COVID-19 has been extended another 90 days, according to a Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) announcement posted July 19.

The 90 days is up on October 18, but could be extended again. HHS has promised to give states at least 60-days notice before lifting the PHE, which allows among other things waivers or flexibility on certain CMS requirements for participating in Medicare.

While CMS and all the accreditation organizations (AO) have resumed unannounced surveys, they also have said that leniency may be shown to hospitals that are in the middle of a COVID-19 patient surge and still actively working under their emergency incident command structure during the PHE.

Also remember that hospitals and other health organizations have until August 20 to comment on OSHA’s interim rule establishing an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to protect healthcare workers against COVID-19 exposure.

The ETS was issued on June 21 with only 14 days-notice to implement most of the requirements, but the American Hospital Association, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology and others have pushed for OSHA to delay implementation.

OSHA announced on July 8 that it was extending the comment period until August 20 on the interim rule that creates a new Subpart U in the OSHA standards. The federal agency is asking, among other things, whether the emergency temporary requirements should become permanent.

The agency says comments can be submitted electronically on Federal Register interim rule, Docket No. OSHA-2020-0004, via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. Please follow the online instructions for making electronic submissions.


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