Hospitals risk losing CMS payment for not reporting COVID-19 data to HHS under new rule

CMS issued an interim final rule on Aug. 25 that requires hospitals to report COVID-19 data to HHS in order to participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Five things to know:

1. The emergency regulations require hospitals and critical access hospitals to report daily COVID-19 data through the HHS portal, powered by TeleTracking and Palantir, to receive payment from CMS.

2. Hospitals are required to report several data points, including the number of patients testing positive for COVID-19, ICU bed occupation and availability of ventilators and personal protective equipment. This information is essential for emergency planning and resource allocation during the pandemic, according to a CMS statement about the new rule.

3. The new rule also requires all hospitals to report results of in-house COVID-19 tests.

4. CMS may terminate Medicare and Medicaid payment to hospitals that don't correct reporting deficiencies as well.

5. Around 94 percent of hospitals are reporting COVID-19 information to HHS, according to a statement from American Hospital Association President Rick Pollack. He also said AHA has been working with HHS to help hospitals understand data collection requirements and worked with the agency to update contact information for hospitals, remove closed hospitals from their list and identify instances where hospitals submitted data that didn't make it through to HHS.

"While hospitals and health systems remain focused on patient care, they're also committed to providing our government with the public health data it needs," said Mr. Pollack. "However, a new heavy-handed regulatory approach put forward by the Administration threatens to expel hospitals from the Medicare program. This disturbing move, announced in final form without consultation, or the opportunity to provide feedback through appropriate administrative procedures prior to it becoming effective, could jeopardize access to care and leave patients and communities without vital health services from their local hospital during a pandemic."

More articles on data analytics:
HHS tied billions in COVID-19 aid to reporting data through TeleTracking: 7 details
Texas county adds 'no confidence' disclaimer to COVID-19 dashboard
Tech glitch in Navicent hospital's automated reporting system skews COVID-19 data

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