On October 2nd, United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex M. Azar renewed the public health emergency declaration set to expire on October 23rd for 90 days.
A number of crucial COVID-19 response policies are tied directly to the emergency period covered by the PHE declaration. The declaration unlocks critical powers that have helped the administration boost food assistance, telehealth, enabled increased Medicaid funding and allowed local health departments to reassign federally funded personnel to respond to the virus.
Additionally, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act authorized additional federal funding to states through a 6.2 percentage point increase in the federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP). The period during which the increased FMAP rate is in effect starts from January 1, 2020 and will remain in effect until the last day of the calendar year quarter in which the public health emergency period ends. Ohio’s FMAP rate will be increased from 63.02% to 69.22% for this period.
The renewal will take effect Oct. 23, and the emergency declaration is now scheduled to lapse January 21, 2021.