On October 13, 2022, the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) was renewed again.1 While this PHE has been renewed ten times since being declared in 2020, this could be the last time and the PHE could be allowed to expire on January 11, 2023.
Each renewal of the PHE determination is effective for 90 days; however, it is possible to cancel the PHE before the end of the three-month period. In order to facilitate the transition away from PHE-specific waivers and flexibilities, the Biden Administration has promised to give states a 60-day notice before doing so. Therefore, should the Administration plan to remove the PHE designation before it expires, or not plan to renew it again, it would have to make that announcement on or before November 12, 2022. If there is no notice given by that date, one could assume that the PHE will be renewed again in January 2023.
The CARES Act of 20202 (The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) granted rehabilitation therapists the ability to provide patient care via telehealth for the duration of the PHE. This past March, the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) of 20223 provided an additional 151 days of coverage for care provide via telehealth4 after the date the PHE is lifted. Should the PHE expire this coming January, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, and audiologists will be able to keep providing rehabilitation therapy via telehealth until mid-June 2023.
The CARES Act also temporarily authorized physical and occupational therapists to provide direct supervision to PTAs and OTAs via real time audio-visual (A/V) technologies. This policy remains in place through the end of the year in which the PHE ends. Thus, this flexibility will remain through December 31, 2023.
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2Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Public Law 116-136 (03/27/2020). Bill language available at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/748/text
3Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022, aka FY2022 Omnibus. 117-103 (03/15/2022). Bill language available at: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwiAlMXf-c32AhXzpnIEHQKgCiMQFnoECAYQAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Frules.house.gov%2Fsites%2Fdemocrats.rules.house.gov%2Ffiles%2FBILLS-117HR2471SA-RCP-117-35.pdf&usg=AOvVaw3N-5SzalR5jHmEodD92gkX
4Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022, Section 302. Expanding Practitioners Eligible to Furnish Telehealth Services