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Biden administration extends public health emergency for Covid-19

On Friday, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra extended the Covid-19 public health emergency, continuing the declaration for another 90 days.

The latest statement was released to the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, and it will allow many public health protection and financial assistance programs to continue for at least another three months.

The latest public health emergency declaration goes into effect on Sunday.

The public health agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but health and human services spokeswoman Kirsten Allen said Wednesday that “HHS will provide states with 60 days notice before any termination or possible expiration in the future,” which has been the ongoing commitment of the Biden administration.

This is the eighth time the statement has been extended since it was announced on January 27, 2020.

There are growing concerns about what will happen once the public health emergency declaration ends, as it will begin to dismantle the expansive support system and end key flexibilities that have helped respond to the pandemic.

These supports increase the availability of grants and credits for local governments and groups working to prevent and treat the virus, enable healthcare providers to access the billions of dollars allocated to the HHS Provider Relief Fund, enable States to waive certain regulatory requirements as they continue to respond to the pandemic and expand access to telehealth and telemedicine capabilities.

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 result in states losing federal funding and the possibility of keeping people on Medicaid lists without constantly checking their eligibility.

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 had created a task force with about 25 state Medicaid agencies to discuss best practices on approach to a problem he says is “unprecedented”.

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

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

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

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