The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) once again extended the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) until October 6. While the agency has the option to keep extending the emergency, writes Hospice News, hospices may start seeing additional scrutiny, particularly in regard to telehealth utilization and the Provider Relief Fund (PRF).
In discussing some of the challenges hospices could face, associate Jake Harper told Hospice News that the “expiration may be approaching sooner rather than later, bringing legal ramifications tied to both the PRF and telehealth — likely starting in 2023.”
“There’s going to be a lot going on with these measures, and the clock is ticking on [PRF] fund auditing. The government is under the gun to report to Congress about when and how these funds have ultimately been used. Hospices also need to be thinking about what their future might look like in the realm of possibility without telehealth, or changes to it. The hardest part for providers is that we’re not seeing any bills in Congress right now that would make a permanent extension of the hospice flexibilities. There’s no legislative vehicle driving that forward,” said Jake.