Secretary Azar Extends PHE

January 7, 2021
Rick Gawenda

On January 7, 2021, Secretary Azar renewed the Public Health Emergency (PHE) due to COVID-19 effective January 21, 2021. The new expiration date of the PHE is April 20, 2021. Click HERE to read the announcement.

What does the extension of the PHE mean for outpatient physical, occupational and speech therapy services? It means that the Medicare program will continue to pay providers for outpatient therapy services delivered via telehealth until the end of the PHE, which is now scheduled to end on April 20, 2021. This extension includes private practices and facility-based settings.

I will be providing a webinar on February 4, 2021 titled “Telehealth in 2021: What You Need to Know“. This webinar will provide participants with the latest information on telehealth coverage by CMS, Aetna, Cigna, UnitedHealthcare and other insurance carriers as it applies to outpatient physical, occupational and speech therapy services. Click HERE for additional information and to register.

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This article is not intended to and does not serve as legal advice or as consultative services, but is for general information purposes only.

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  1. The article didn’t mention an expiration date.

    “As a result of the continued consequences of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, on this date and after consultation with public health officials as necessary, I, Alex M. Azar II, Secretary of Health and Human Services, pursuant to the authority vested in me under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act, do hereby renew, effective January 21, 2021, my January 31, 2020, determination, that I previously renewed on April 21, 2020 October 23, 2020, my January 31, 2020, determination, that I previously renewed on April 21, 2020, July 23, 2020, and October 2, 2020, that a public health emergency exists and has existed since January 27, 2020, nationwide”

  2. I assume this means that there will continue to be no direct supervision requirement for PTAs/OTAs in private practice through the extension as well?