Federal Public Health Emergency Extended
January 12, 2023
On January 11, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Becerra extended the federal public health emergency (PHE) due to the COVID-19 pandemic for another 90 days, delaying the expiration until April 11, 2023, although the Secretary may terminate the declaration whenever he determines that the emergency has ceased to exist. Secretary Becerra has previously promised to provide 60 days’ notice before ending the emergency.
The federal public health emergency provides health care enrollment flexibility, expands access to telehealth services which will remain in place for five months after the emergency ends, and fast-tracks federal COVID-19 tests, vaccines, and treatments. The declaration, however, does not affect the related changes to Medicaid enacted in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 as previously reported in last week’s CSAC Weekly Bulletin. With the passage of the federal bill, the continuous coverage requirements that paused all Medi-Cal redeterminations since March 2020 would be decoupled from the PHE termination date as of April 1, 2023, setting the stage for the resumption of Medi-Cal redeterminations. Updated guidance from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the California Department of Health Care Services is forthcoming and will be shared once received.
As of Thursday, January 5, California’s daily case rate was 15.5 per 100,000 residents, with test positivity at 12.6 percent. (Source: Tracking COVID-19 in California – Coronavirus COVID-19 Response)