The Secretary of Health and Human Services officially renewed the status of the Public Health Emergency

On January 7, 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services released a declaration of renewal of the National Public Health Emergency which will be in effect for another 90 days, starting January 21st. This declaration renews for the 4th time, those changes that have been made as a result of the initial declaration in January 2020.

This declaration was released from Secretary Alex Azar:

To view the PHE page, CLICK HERE

Some of the rule changes that skilled nursing facilities have been utilizing for the past year include those created by the 1135 Waiver and other rule making, such as:

  • Medicare Part A 3 Night Qualifying Hospital Stay Waiver
  • Medicare Part A 60 Day Benefit Period Waiver
  • MDS Submission Deadline Relaxation
  • Telehealth for Medicare Part A (though not billed as true telehealth)
  • Telehealth for Medicare Part B
  • Skilled Maintenance Therapy – The Waiver allowed PTA’s and C/OTA’s to provide Skilled Maintenance Therapy under Part B. However, this allowance was part of the “Final Rule” that kicked in 1/1/21, making this acceptable practice going forward, and no longer an exception through the Waiver.

This CMS document – SE20011 – explains all the SNF changes and will be updated by CMS as needed.

We can expect additional CMS direction on the status of the PHE in April 2021, when it will either be renewed or expire.

For continued updates on COVID-19 changes impacting SNF therapy, visit our COVID-19 SNF Resource Page.

As always, if you have any questions, please send them to our Just Ask Q&A Forum and we will be glad to help you.

In Your Corner,


Dolores Montero, PT, DPT, RAC-CT, RAC-CTA

SNF Rehab & MDS Compliance Team

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