Federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency to expire Thursday

Federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency to expire Thursday
Published: May. 11, 2023 at 12:41 PM CDT|Updated: May. 11, 2023 at 12:51 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The Federal Public Health Emergency (PHE) for COVID-19, declared from the Public Health Service Act (PHS), is set to expire Thursday, May 11 at the end of the day.

As the federal PHE comes to an end, the Division of Public Health has aligned COVID-19 data monitoring and response efforts with other respiratory illnesses.

“DHHS will continue moving forward with providing Nebraskans with the best services possible and do our best to empower people to live their best lives,” CEO Dannette R. Smith said.

Nebraska ended its COVID-19 PHE on June 30, 2021.

Additionally, Medicaid & Long-Term Care (MLTC) flexibilities that were introduced to help providers during the COVID-19 pandemic will end after May 11. This includes:

  • Annual physical examinations for long-term care residents will be required to be conducted in-person by November 11, 2023.
  • Hospice aides will need to have supervisory visits by registered nurses at least every 14 days.
  • Pregnancy-only providers will no longer be allowed to make presumptive eligibility determinations for anyone other than pregnant mothers.
  • Fee-for-service providers are no longer allowed to extend prior authorizations that existed before the pandemic started through to the end of the pandemic without requiring follow-up visits.
  • Providers will need to revalidate their agreement with Nebraska Medicaid prior to the end date of their enrollment.
  • Beginning July 1, 2023, pre- and post-enrollment site visits will need to be completed in-person.

The following flexibilities will end after June 30:

  • Nebraska Medicaid will no longer pay the waiver rate to an assisted living facility (ALF) if a resident was temporarily transferred out of the facility to quarantine in another ALF or a skilled nursing facility if the ALF held the resident’s place.
  • Bed-hold days will return to the pre-PHE standard of a maximum of 15 days and for hospitalization only.
  • LTC facility transfers will return to the pre-PHE standard.

The Department of Health and Human Services said cost-sharing, including copayments/copays and premiums, will continue to be waived for members of Nebraska Medicaid until June 1, 2024.