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Medicare to Hospitals: Report Coronavirus Data or Lose Funding

Published September 30, 2020

Follow our Medicare Coronavirus News page for related information on coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on Medicare beneficiaries.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an interim final rule Aug. 25th that requires hospitals to comply with certain COVID-19 data reporting protocols in order to participate in Medicare and Medicaid. 

The rule was issued as an emergency regulation during the COVID-19 pandemic, which was federally declared as a public health emergency. Under the rule, hospitals are required to provide the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with daily updates on specific data related to COVID-19 in order to continue participating in Medicare and Medicaid. 

The required data includes (but is not limited to):

  • The hospital’s number of confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19
  • The number of occupied ICU beds
  • The available inventory of supplies and equipment essential for treating patients with COVID-19, such as personal protective equipment and ventilators. 

CMS Administrator Seema Verma said that non-complying hospitals would be notified and given a deadline to provide the required data. If the hospital fails to meet the deadline, Medicare will withhold their payment. 

“These new rules represent a dramatic acceleration of our efforts to track and control the spread of COVID-19. Reporting of test results and other data are vitally important tools for controlling the spread of the virus and give providers on the front lines what they need to fight it.” - CMS Administrator Seema Verma1

Pushback from American Hospital Association

The rule received some pushback from the American Hospital Association and CEO Rick Pollack, who said in a statement that the move “Could jeopardize access to care and leave patients and communities without vital health services from their local hospital during a pandemic.”

Pollack also criticized the rule being announced in its final form without consultation or an opportunity for feedback through administrative procedures.   

“America’s hospitals remain fully committed to ensuring that the federal government gets the data it needs,” Pollack said, while adding that 94% of hospitals are reporting data related to COVID-19 to the federal government and working with federal officials to address problems with data reporting. 

The rule also put in place reporting measures for laboratories, which now must report COVID-19 test results to the HHS daily. Fines of $1,000 for the first day and $500 for each subsequent day of noncompliance will be issued.

Learn more about Medicare news and how the COVID-19 pandemic affects beneficiaries.

 

1 CMS. (Aug. 25, 2020). Trump Administration Strengthens COVID-19 Surveillance with New Reporting and Testing Requirements for Nursing Homes, Other Providers
[press release]. Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/trump-administration-strengthens-covid-19-surveillance-new-reporting-and-testing-requirements.