Yesterday Governor Cuomo announced that, effective today, the Administration is ending the state’s declaration of a disaster emergency for COVID-19. This follows news last week that the state was lifting most COVID-19 restrictions (with health care settings being one major exception), due to New Yorkers reaching a vaccination threshold of 70 percent with at least one dose.
The end to the health emergency, which was in effect since March 7, 2020, leaves many questions about the status of health care regulations and guidances that were waived, suspended, or relaxed as part of executive orders and state guidance issued throughout the course of the declared emergency.
Among them are expanded Medicaid telehealth billing permissions for home care and other settings, flexibility on the timing of RN supervision visits and Medicaid program initial visits in home care, allowing RN supervision through indirect means (including telephone or video communications), limited relief for aide training programs and in-service training requirements, and other changes that were put into effect at various points throughout the emergency.
During the recent state legislative session, HCA urged support from lawmakers on the continuation of many regulatory changes beyond the emergency period given that the emergency-era pressures are persistent, including major staffing shortages and fiscal or general operational impacts that could be alleviated by the continuation of relief measures.
Today, HCA is pressing this point again in our outreach to the Governor’s office as we seek to learn more about the administration’s intentions for regulatory waivers and relief measures while urging their continuation in cases that would help providers manage the ongoing after-effects of this crisis.
We will also be seeking to determine the status of federal regulatory waivers, given the continuation of the federal government’s declared state of emergency, including any linkages to state program regulatory waivers.
Please stay tuned for further updates from our conversations with the Cuomo Administration and Department of Health.