AHA Statement on CMS Interim Final Rule on Data Collection and Medicare Conditions of Participation (CoPS)
President and CEO
American Hospital Association
August 25, 2020
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.
Hospitals and health systems consistently have put forward a good faith effort to report the data needed to battle COVID-19 under very trying circumstances, despite the ever-changing requests from the government on data reporting. Since February, the government has made at least six changes to how they want hospitals to report data. The vast majority of hospitals -- 94 percent -- are reporting information, according to the federal government.
To close the gap in participation, the AHA has been working in partnership with HHS to help hospitals understand the changing data collection requirements. Among other actions, we have: provided HHS with updated contact information for some hospitals; identified closed or merged hospitals in HHS’s outdated data that would adversely affect its efforts; and formed teams at the state level to reach out to hospitals to help understand any barriers to participation. In some cases, we also found hospitals were submitting data, but the data were not making it through the HHS-approved data pipeline.
America’s hospitals remain fully committed to ensuring that the federal government gets the data it needs. It’s beyond perplexing why CMS would use a regulatory sledgehammer--threatening Medicare participation--to the very organizations that are on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19. This rule should be reversed immediately.