It is True the COVID-19 PHE is Expiring

March 16th, 2023 - Raquel Shumway

It is True, at the time of this writing, HHS has announced that the COVID-19 PHE is expiring at the end of day May 11, 2023. This leaves us with just a few questions.

What will stay the same? What will change? When will those changes take place? Luckily, they have provided us with answers to those questions.

Some things that will stay the same:

  • Access to COVID-19 vaccinations 
  • Some treatments
  • Ability of FDA to approve tests, vaccines and treatments for emergency use
  • COVID-19 products will remain in effect 
  • Medicare and Medicaid telehealth flexibilities
  • Using buprenorphine for Opioid use disorder in Opioid Treatment Programs
  • Using methadone as a take-home solution for Opioid Use disorder treatment
  • Medicare Part B coverage without cost sharing when ordered by a physician

Some things that will be affected:

  • Free COVID-19 tests (over-the-counter) will end
  • Out-of-pocket costs
  • Private payer insurance requirements to provide COVID-19 tests without cost sharing
    This will be a decision made by the payer
  • State Medicaid will provide COVID-19 testing without cost sharing until September 30, 2024. After which it will be determined by the state whether to continue the no cost sharing or not.
  • USG may continue to provide free COVID-19 tests as long as supplies are available.
  • Reporting of COVID-19 lab tests and immunization data
  • FDA COVID-19-related guidance documents. FDA will announce plans for guidance changes by the end of the PHE (May 11, 2023)
  • Ability to be apprised of COVID-19-related critical devices shortages in advance
  • Ability to dispense controlled substances via telemedicine without an in-person interaction
  • Liability protections for the private sector who provide services (e.g., manufacturers, distributors, public/private organizations) will end. Check to see if this affects your organization.
    HHS is working on whether to provide this coverage after the end of the PHE

Please note that some of these changes have different dates of implementation. For more specific information and specific end dates regarding these items please see the HHS Fact Sheet.

HHS assures us that:

The Administration is committed to ensuring that COVID-19 vaccines and treatments will be widely accessible to all who need them. There will also be continued access to pathways for emergency use authorizations (EUAs) for COVID-19 products (tests, vaccines, and treatments) through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and major telehealth flexibilities will continue to exist for those participating in Medicare or Medicaid

Make sure that you are aware of the “end of pandemic” changes and understand how they may affect your patients and practice.


Questions, comments?

If you have questions or comments about this article please contact us.  Comments that provide additional related information may be added here by our Editors.

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