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Biden administration extends public health emergency for Covid-19

Biden administration extends public health emergency for Covid-19

Minister of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra extended the the Covid-19 public health emergency Friday, continuing the statement for another 90 days.

The last report was posted to the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, and it will ensure that many public health protection and financial aid programs can continue for at least another three months.

The latest public health emergency statement takes effect on Sunday.

The public health agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but Kirsten Allen, a spokesperson for Health and Human Services, said on Wednesday that “HHS will give states 60 days notice of any future termination or expiration,” which has been the continued commitment of the Biden administration.

This is the eighth time the statement has been extended since its announcement on January 27, 2020.

There is growing concern about what will happen as the public health emergency declaration comes to an end as it will begin the unraveling of the comprehensive support system and end key flexibilities that have contributed to efforts to respond to the pandemic .

That support will increase the availability of grants and appropriations for local governments and groups working to prevent and treat the virus, give health care providers access to the billions of dollars allocated to the HHS Provider Relief Fund, enable states to see certain legal requirements as they continue to respond to the pandemic and expand access to telehealth and telemedicine.

NBC News previously reported that up to 15 million people, including 6 million children, are at risk of losing Medicaid coverage once the public health emergency ends, as it would cause states to lose federal funding and the flexibility to keep people on the Medicaid rolls without constantly checking for their suitability.

Daniel Tsai, the director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services who was appointed in June, said in the December report that his office has established a working group with about 25 state Medicaid agencies to discuss best practices for addressing a problem he called ‘unprecedented’.

The agency has prepared a checklist for states to encourage them to begin communicating the challenges and work closely with healthcare navigators, community groups and others to ensure the smoothest transition possible.

The hope is to ensure that those who remain eligible retain coverage and those who do not switch to other forms of health insurance.

“We try to be very aware of the realities on the ground and also make sure that we – I mean literally – use every possible leverage to maintain coverage and access for people,” Tsai said last month.

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