The public health emergency surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic was set to expire the day after President-elect Joe Biden takes the oath of office, but HHS has extended the emergency declaration for another 90 days. The extension is effective January 21 and extends into April.
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, enable increased Medicaid funding, and allow local health departments to reassign federally funded personnel to respond to the virus.
Additionally, the 6.2 percentage point increase in the federal Medicaid matching rate (FMAP) is tied to this national declaration. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act provided a 6.2 percentage point increase in the FMAP through the last day of the calendar quarter in which the PHE period ends. (This translates into a 4.34 percentage point increase in the federal matching rate for CHIP).
HHS first declared the PHE on January 31, 2020, following the World Health Organization's decision to declare the coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern.