Pennsylvania Extends Federal COVID-19 Healthcare Waivers

On Thursday, the PA House of Representatives passed a bill extending COVID-19 regulatory waivers and suspensions, keeping healthcare services more flexible.

House Bill 2401 extends regulatory waivers and suspensions that went into effect throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. They include broadening the definition of eligible supervisors authorizing more healthcare workers to administer COVID-19 vaccinations, allowing individuals receiving supervision for clinical experience to provide teletherapy services, allowing licensed healthcare practitioners to provide telemedicine services, and more.

This extension means waivers will remain in place until October 31, 2022. Waivers related to federal exemptions will remain in place until the last day of the federal Public Health Emergency or the last day the federal exemptions are authorized, whichever is later.

“Throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, many policies and waivers were implemented to ensure Pennsylvanians have continued access to services,” said Gov. Wolf. “Those policies and waivers continue to support individuals accessing services today and should be preserved. I’m happy to sign this bill into law, so Pennsylvanians continue to receive the quality care they deserve.”

House Bill 2401 was originally introduced by Representative Jeff C. Wheeland, whose March 7 memorandum, in part, states, “A number of regulatory waivers went into effect over the course of the pandemic. Many healthcare-specific waivers are still in place today to ensure continued access to quality care. The past two years have taught us that some of these flexibilities should stay in place permanently as we have learned that the regulations themselves are outdated. In the home health care space, where individuals receive acute skilled nursing care in their homes, two waivers have provided more flexibility for providers, resulting in increased access to care. I intend on introducing legislation that will make permanent (1) the ability of non-physician practitioners to order and oversee orders for home health care services and (2) allow for the continued use of remote supervisory visits by registered nurses in limited circumstances.”

According to the Pennsylvania Grand Assembly, House Bill 2401 amends the Health Care Facilities Act of July 19, 1979. The amendment makes changes in licensing health care facilities, further providing for licensure.

Read the full memorandum here

House Bill 2401

Read wavers and suspensions here: