Thursday, October 29News That Matters

HHS would require hospitals to account flu data, as effectively as to COVID-19

[This piece has been updated to include a comment from the American Hospital Association and more information about the CMS final rule.]

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Companies announced Tuesday afternoon that it may maybe maybe perchance well originate up requiring hospitals to consist of data formulation about influenza sufferers to their each day COVID-19 reporting.  

Starting Wednesday, hospitals may maybe maybe hang 14 weeks to return into compliance with the requirements, acknowledged Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Companies Administrator Seema Verma on a call with newshounds.   

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“Noncompliance may maybe maybe well result in termination for both Medicare and Medicaid, which manner the sanatorium would no longer receive reimbursement from these purposes,” acknowledged Verma, who acknowledged that termination is the right sanction the agency has on hand for hospitals.  

Officers didn’t specify on the resolution which original formulation had been going to be added, what number of hospitals had been currently in 100% compliance or what precisely hospitals would be required to account. Some of that data used to be later clarified in an intervening time final rule printed on the CMS web design, which acknowledged influenza data must be optionally reported starting up October 19 and that doing so would be “predominant within the coming weeks.”

“Tying data reporting to participation within the Medicare program stays an excessively heavy-handed manner that may maybe maybe well jeopardize access to sanatorium bask in all Individuals,” acknowledged American Health facility Association President and CEO Rick Pollack in an announcement

Even supposing the guidance does solution some excellent questions about compliance, Pollack acknowledged, “Now we hang noticed errors in data processing and confusion about precisely what used to be being requested at the sanatorium, disclose, contractor and federal level and hang worked diligently with the federal companies to call and fair these complications.”

Reporting success, he persisted, “used to be made that you may maybe imagine by partnership, no longer mandates.”


Since directing hospitals to bypass the Centers for Disease Adjust and Prevention and account on to HHS this summer season, the agency has maintained that well-liked data entry is predominant to give the govt.the fullest that you may maybe imagine image of the pandemic. Hospitals can account by process of HHS’ TeleTracking portal, thru their disclose effectively being departments or by process of their effectively being IT vendors. 

Unless the cease of September, the agency acknowledged it extinct the COVID-19 data to establish allocation of the therapy drug remdesivir. Since then, hospitals were in a location to at as soon as opt the medication from the distributor.

Now, the govt.says it wants the info to develop obvious original therapeutics will be on hand to hospitals as they’re developed and to give them visibility into the desires of hospitals.

“That dialogue with the hospitals has persisted to evolve” referring to data reporting needs, acknowledged Dr. Deborah Birx, White Residence process force coordinator. As an illustration, hospitals now no longer must account their personal holding equipment provides each day; quite, they’ll design so weekly. They’ll additionally enter data on Monday and backdate it to the weekend if predominant.

The addition of influenza data formulation, acknowledged Birx “will allow us on an everyday basis … to opt into legend and query what the non-COVID, non-influenza respiratory diseases are.”   

“We mediate it be mandatory for governors to snatch the put there are gaps within the database to love the put there are developments and trend lines,” Birx persisted.  

The six original influenza reporting requirements “isn’t very any longer going to substitute the latest surveillance arrangement,” acknowledged CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield. Somewhat, the original data “will give us an improved situational awareness” and “present native hospitalization developments,” he acknowledged, while additionally giving insight into predominant assets. 

These requirements will consist of the selection of ICU sufferers with flu, which sufferers in hospitals hang both influenza and COVID-19, and the selection of deaths from influenza.   

“CDC is making ready for there to be a COVID-19 and seasonal influenza job at the same time,” acknowledged Redfield.   

In relation to the 14-week enforcement timeline, Verma acknowledged that hospitals may maybe maybe hang “broad opportunity” to return into compliance, describing a pair of enforcement letters and technological improve sooner than termination. Hospitals will additionally hang the lawful to appeal termination.

When asked by Healthcare IT News about reports of closed hospitals showing up as nonreporting (and ensuing from this truth noncompliant), Verma reiterated that the 14 weeks would be enough time to work out the kinks.  

“If there is a pickle, if there’s an administrative protest, now we hang the chance to work with these hospitals one-on-one to be obvious” issues breeze with out anxiousness, she acknowledged.  

HHS didn’t offer statistics about what number of hospitals had been currently in paunchy compliance, but senior officials acknowledged they would originate up publishing data about which hospitals weren’t compliant on October 21.  

The work to win hospitals into compliance has been an ongoing effort, acknowledged Verma.   

“What’s original is we’re starting up to place in force it the utilization of the circumstances of enforcement,” she acknowledged.   


Health facility associations raised the concern about the revocation of Medicare funding in leisurely September, when recordsdata of the alternate leaked.

Given the precarious financial space many hospitals gain themselves in, some called the possibility “the nuclear choice.”  

“Pushing aside CMS certification for Medicare would develop financial ache for any sanatorium. Worse, it may maybe maybe perchance well in loads of communities put off access to care,” acknowledged Dave Dillon, spokesperson for the Missouri Health facility Association, to Healthcare IT News.    

“The goalposts support transferring as we approach thru the crisis,” acknowledged Dillon.    

Ahead of the latest alternate, many hospitals acknowledged they’d adjusted to the original reporting requirements. Some acknowledged their disclose effectively being departments had taken on the job. Within the intervening time, HHS prolonged its contract with TeleTracking one more six months.

“Over the course of our contract with Health and Human Companies, now we hang confirmed that we can systematically beef up compliance and enable hospitals across the nation to account on their COVID-19 data mercurial, consistently and transparently,” TeleTracking president Christopher Johnson urged Healthcare IT News.  


“At the cease of the day, here’s about sufferers,” acknowledged Verma. “All of this reporting ensures that frontline sufferers and workers hang the provides they need.”

Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.

Twitter: @kjercich

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Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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