Based on current COVID-19 trends, the Department of Health and Human Services
(HHS) is planning for the federal Public Health Emergency for COVID-19 (PHE)
declared by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (Secretary)
under Section 319 of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act to expire at the end of the day
on May 11, 2023.
On April 10, 2023, the President signed H.J.Res.7. into law, which terminated the
national COVID-19 emergency immediately. Did this end the COVID-19 PHE declared
by the Secretary?
The PHE for COVID-19 declared by the Secretary under section 319 of the PHS Act is
not the same as the COVID-19 National Emergency declared by President Trump in
2020, which ended when President Biden signed H.J.Res.7. Therefore, the end of the
COVID-19 National Emergency generally does not impact current operations at HHS,
and it does not impact the expected May 11, 2023, expiration of the federal PHE for
COVID-19 or any associated unwinding plans. Further, any existing waivers currently in
effect and authorized under section 1135 of the Social Security Act will remain in place
until the end of the PHE for COVID-19 declared by the Secretary under section 319 of
the PHS Act.
Many flexibilities, including the waiver of the Medicare three-day qualifying hospital
stay (QHS) requirement prior to a Medicare-covered SNF stay, will no longer be in effect
for the Medicare fee-for-service program once the PHE ends.
For any Medicare Part A-covered SNF stay which begins on or prior to May 11, 2023,
without a QHS, that stay can continue for as long as the beneficiary has Part A SNF
benefit days available and for as long as the beneficiary continues to meet the SNF level
of care criteria (e.g., requiring daily skilled care). For any new Medicare Part A-covered
SNF stay which begins after May 11, 2023, (including stays which experience a break in
Part A coverage that exceeds three consecutive calendar days before resuming SNF
coverage), these stays will require a QHS.