On Monday, June 30, 2020, HHS spokesman Michael Caputo tweeted that HHS intends to extend the COVID-19 public health emergency before it expires on July 25, 2020. Once extended, the public health emergency will be effective for an additional 90 days. Extending the emergency declaration will allow providers to continue to use waivers and flexibilities issued to assist them in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Notably, this extension would also likely prolong the period of time for which healthcare providers can incur health care-related expenses and lost revenues attributable to coronavirus and use payments issued by the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund to reimburse such permissible expenses and lost revenues. HHS indicates in FAQs that providers can use Provider Relief Fund payments for health care-related expenses incurred on any date, but if, at the conclusion of the pandemic, providers have leftover Provider Relief Fund money that they cannot expend on permissible expenses or losses, then they will need to return that leftover money to HHS. HHS says it will provide directions in the future about how to return unused funds.