COVID-19 Public Health Emergency to Expire in May, Marking Potential End of Hospice Regulatory Flexibilities

The Biden administration will end the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) on May 11.

This includes the separate COVID-19 national emergency, both declared by President Donald Trump in 2020. A federally declared emergency allows the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to waive some regulatory requirements, such as expanded access to telehealth, including for recertifications.

“The COVID-19 national emergency and public health emergency (PHE) were declared by the Trump Administration in 2020,” the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) indicated in a statement. “They are currently set to expire on March 1 and April 11, respectively. At present, the Administration’s plan is to extend the emergency declarations to May 11, and then end both emergencies on that date. This wind-down would align with the Administration’s previous commitments to give at least 60 days’ notice prior to termination of the PHE.” 


CMS also temporarily waived the requirement for volunteers to provide a minimum of 5% of hospice patient care hours and changed rules for the training and assessment of aides.

The agency last year published a “roadmap” to help health care providers make the transition.

“To be clear, continuation of these emergency declarations until May 11 does not impose any restriction at all on individual conduct with regard to COVID-19,” OMB said in the statement. “They do not impose mask mandates or vaccine mandates. They do not restrict school or business operations. They do not require the use of any medicines or tests in response to cases of COVID-19.”


This is a developing story and will be updated.