In a letter sent June 26, 2020, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) urged the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar to extend the coronavirus (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency beyond its current July 25, 2020 expiration date.
HHS through authority granted during the Public Health Emergency which was effective starting on January 27, 2020 has provided resources and flexibilities to the hospice and palliative care community including support for telehealth and flexibility for some Medicare Hospice Conditions of Participation. The waivers have enabled hospice and palliative care providers to respond effectively to the urgent and complex needs of our patients and their families – those suffering from COVID-19 as well as other serious illnesses. These flexibilities allow hospice providers to serve the most vulnerable patients where they are and limit the exposure to COVID-19 by patients, families and staff.
“The hospice and palliative care community continues to provide high quality care to their patients and families during the COVID-19 pandemic as they have through many public health crises over the years. We are grateful to the Administration for the support you have offered through flexibilities granted during the Public Health Emergency and are asking HHS to extend the declaration of the Public Health Emergency into the future as we anticipate that the needs of Americans facing COVID-19 will continue to grow in the coming months and possibly longer,” said NHPCO President and CEO Edo Banach.