Hospitals currently not reporting daily COVID-19 data have a few months to get in compliance or risk being thrown out of Medicare and Medicaid.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Tuesday it will send notices to all hospitals over their requirements for reporting COVID-19 data to the Trump administration.
Any hospital not in compliance with the daily reporting requirements will have 14 weeks to get in line or risk their participation in Medicare and Medicaid, officials said.
The agency gave an enforcement timeline that gives “hospitals ample opportunity to come into compliance,” said Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma on a call with reporters Tuesday.
The Trump administration wants hospitals to submit daily data that includes COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations as well as patients currently in the intensive care unit with the virus. Hospitals must submit data on the ages of patients admitted with suspected COVID-19 infections. Facilities need to also report their inventory of the COVID-19 therapy Remdesivir, any staffing shortages and the number of ventilators. Every week hospitals also report data on their personal protective equipment on hand and supply of critical medications.
Facilities now must also report on new data for influenza cases. “The new requirements will allow us to gather critical information on influenza at hospitals across the U.S.,” said Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention Director Robert Redfield, M.D.
Verma said that the large majority of hospitals in CMS’ system are already reporting this data to the agency. CMS will also give hospitals that are not in compliance a wide berth to get them into compliance.
Hospitals will be sent multiple notices over the 14-week timeline to get their data reporting in line.
“This work of getting hospitals into compliance around reporting has been an ongoing effort,” Verma said.
CMS proposed the mandatory daily reporting requirements back in August, much to the chagrin of hospital advocates.
The American Hospital Association (AHA) said that CMS tying Medicare and Medicaid participation to compliance "remains an overly heavy-handed approach that could jeopardize access to hospital care for all Americans," according to a statement released Tuesday.
"Today’s interpretive guidance on COVID data reporting does answer some of the questions hospitals and health systems have been asking about compliance since the interim final rule was released six weeks ago," the group said. "In particular, the Administration will provide hospitals with information on whether their data are making it into HHS Protect and they will give hospitals the necessary time to adjust their data collection to come into compliance if need be."
The Federation of American Hospitals called the new rules "sledgehammer enforcement."
"It is both inappropriate and frankly overkill for CMS to tie compliance with reporting to Medicare conditions of participation," said FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn in a statement.