Items to Watch as the Public Health Emergency Winds Down

April 22, 2022

By: Dyana Williams, Client Manager, Lighthouse Lab Services/Vachette

Following another recent 90-day extension, the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) is now set to expire July 15. Both the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Biden Administration have promised to give at least 60 days’ notice before allowing the PHE to expire.

However, due to a number of COVID funds being exhausted or close to tapped out, this is likely to be the final extension. Here are some items to keep in mind as labs and pathologists prepare for the potential end of the PHE.

Return to Previous Business “Norms”

  • Medicare has begun recoupments to pay back Federal funds that may have been borrowed by providers.
  • Medicare sequestration has resumed. The full 2% reduction in Medicare payments will be in place before the year is out.
  • Quality reporting requirements: MIPS. If you don’t already know how you are reporting your quality measures for 2022, now is decision time! However, hardship exceptions are still available for individuals and groups who have been impacted by the COVID Public Health Emergency.

Post-Covid Business Preparations

  • Case Mix: Electives will begin to resume. Also, expect an increase in complex cases and/or disease processes due to access-to-care issues faced by the general public during the PHE.
  • Staffing Shortages: There are hundreds of open positions for Pathologists and lab personnel across the U.S. This will cause strain across the organization and its business associates that may lead to gaps in performance. The work we do at Vachette will help mitigate those issues.
  • Payor Mix: The PHE has already forced some changes to the historic payer mix of many of our clients. Expect this to continue as Medicaid and Medicare coverage continues to expand through various policymaker incentives.

If you need assistance preparing your lab or group for the changes brought on by the end of the PHE, or if you’re looking to strengthen your revenue cycle management amid the drop in COVID testing, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team for a free consultation.

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