Reporting errors inflated Arizona COVID-19 hospitalizations, state says

The Arizona health department reported an unnamed large healthcare provider skewed its COVID-19 data by inaccurately reporting hospitalizations.

In an Oct. 6 blog post, Cara Chris, MD, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services Cara Christ, MD, wrote: "Recently, public health experts determined that a large healthcare provider was reporting admission date for COVID-19 cases when these individuals were not actually hospitalized. The data being reported in the admission date field of the report form was actually the date the individual was seen by the healthcare provider. Because these cases were being reported with an admission date, they were being counted as hospitalizations in the hospitalization section of our data dashboard."

The healthcare provider, which primarily serves patients in Maricopa County, corrected the issue at the end of August, and the state's hospitalized cases decreased by 2,815 cases.

"Our epidemiologists continue to put quality systems in place so all of the data reported is accurately characterized and used to identify interventions," wrote Dr. Christ.

A local CBS 5 report also said the state health department is working with another unnamed provider to address technical reporting issues that resulted in inaccurate bed counts, among other errors.

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