The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today issued an interim final rule that, among other provisions, makes collecting and reporting COVID-19-data a condition of participation for hospitals that participate in Medicare. 

The rule, which is effective upon publication in the Federal Register, will require hospitals to report daily data including, but not limited to, elements such as the number of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 positive patients, intensive care unit beds occupied, and availability of supplies and equipment, such as ventilators and personal protective equipment. By making this data reporting a CoP, the penalty for a hospital’s noncompliance potentially may be termination from the Medicare program if appropriate corrective action is not taken. 

In addition to the new CoP requirement, the interim final rule directs surveyors to inspect nursing homes for adherence to new COVID-19 testing requirements, with penalties including sanctions and civil monetary penalties. The rule also implements new laboratory reporting requirements in accordance with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. Failure to comply with these requirements could result in civil monetary penalties of $1,000 a day for the first day and $500 a day for each subsequent day. 

In a statement, AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack said, “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. 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.” Read the full AHA statement that was shared with the media today, and an infographic with more details on the issue. 

 

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