AHA Special Bulletin
April 27, 2023
Fewer data elements and weekly reporting coming soon
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) earlier this week announced it will streamline hospital COVID-19 reporting requirements shortly after the May 11 conclusion of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE). The CDC will reduce the number of data elements that hospitals must report and the reporting frequency from daily to weekly reporting. The CDC will provide updated guidance and confirm the date for the reporting transition in the weeks ahead.
The AHA appreciates CDC’s steps to streamline COVID-19 data reporting requirements and looks forward to reviewing the detailed guidance when it is available. While the emergent phase of the COVID-19 pandemic is concluding, hospitals and health systems recognize the need for continued vigilance. The CDC’s more-focused approach to data reporting should continue to provide the federal government with insights into the impact of COVID-19 on hospitals and health systems, while enabling hospitals to begin shifting some of their limited resources to other important priorities. We will continue to work with CDC and other federal agencies towards fully sunsetting required reporting as soon as possible.
Since 2020, hospitals have been required to report certain COVID-19 data to the federal government under a Medicare Condition of Participation (CoP). The specific data required and reporting process have evolved several times. For example, CDC in mid-December 2022 assumed responsibility for collecting hospital COVID-19 data. In addition, while the original hospital COVID-19 data reporting CoP was set to expire at the conclusion of the COVID-19 PHE, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) altered the CoP last year to give itself the authority to extend COVID-19 data reporting as late as April 30, 2024. However, the agency could choose to terminate hospital COVID-19 data reporting at an earlier date.
In its April 24 announcement, CDC states it will change two key aspects of hospital COVID-19 data reporting:
- Number of Data Elements. The CDC will reduce the number of data elements that hospitals must report from 62 to 44. Specifically, CDC will make the following data fields optional for federal reporting:
- Total hospitalized pediatric suspected or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patients
- Hospitalized and ventilated COVID-19 patients (patients currently hospitalized in an adult, pediatric or neonatal inpatient bed who have suspected or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 and are on a mechanical ventilator)
- Total ICU adult suspected or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patients
- Hospital onset (total current inpatients with onset of suspected or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 14 or more days after admission for a condition other than COVID-19)
- Previous day’s adult admissions with suspected COVID-19 and breakdown by age bracket
- Previous day’s pediatric admissions with suspected COVID-19
- Previous day’s total ED visits
- Previous day’s total COVID-19-related ED visits
- Frequency of Reporting. Under current guidance, hospitals are required to report most COVID-19 data elements on a daily basis, with some elements being reported once per week. Under the forthcoming guidance, all required data fields will be reported on a once weekly basis. Hospitals will report values for each day of the previous week, with the week defined as Sunday-Saturday. For example, hospitals by the end of the day on Tuesday, April 18 would report data from the week of Sunday, April 9-Saturday, April 15.
The CDC’s announcement also indicates that the enforcement period for compliance with reporting requirements will be lengthened from 14 days to 28 days. The agency indicates additional details on the new compliance process are forthcoming.
The CDC is hosting two webinars with additional information about its upcoming reporting guidance:
- Tuesday, May 2, 2023, from 2:30-3:30 p.m. ET LEARN MORE
- Thursday, May 4, 2023, from 3-4 p.m. ET LEARN MORE
The CDC also invites hospitals to ask additional questions to NHSN@cdc.gov using the subject line “COVID-19 Hospital.”
If you have further questions of the AHA team, please contact Akin Demehin, AHA’s senior director for quality and patient safety policy, at firstname.lastname@example.org.