x
Breaking News
More () »

Sacramento's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Sacramento, California | ABC10.com

VERIFY: Do hospitals get more funding by marking deaths COVID-19 related?

Viewers have reached out to ABC10 asking if hospitals are inflating the coronavirus death numbers to receive more funding.

SACRAMENTO, Calif — It's a claim passed on through word of mouth and social media that prompted ABC10 viewers to reach out.

One viewer reached out to ABC10 and asked: 

"People are saying that the report of deaths due to COVID-19 is [sic] false. People are saying that hospitals are getting funded if they say a death is virus related. Any truth to this?"

Well, this has to be broken down in two parts.

THE QUESTIONS:

Do hospitals receive more funds if they say a death is related to COVID-19? And does this mean the number of coronavirus death are false or inflated?

THE ANSWER:

ABC10 can verify that hospitals do get reimbursed for coronavirus related care, which unfortunately includes deaths.

As for the the second part of our viewer's question, a medicare spokesperson said it is unlikely. 

"Claims with inaccurate diagnosis or DRG would be subject to recoupment and/or other potential civil or criminal charges for false claims."

So far, it is unverified that hospitals are falsifying records for financial gain.

WHAT WE FOUND:

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services [HHS] which oversees the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, under the federal coronavirus aid relief bill known as the CARES Act, hospitals get an extra 20% in Medicare reimbursements on top of traditional rates due to the public health emergency.

That's for COVID-19 related admissions, which can include deaths. The pay-out amount varies, according to a medicare spokesperson who said "medicare adjusts hospital payment based on geographic variation in local costs."

Also, earlier this month, HHS announced a second round of federal relief for hospitals in high impact areas, totaling $10 billion. 

Of that second-round money, HHS reported 63 California hospitals received $50,000 for each eligible coronavirus patient they admitted between Jan. 1 and June 10, 2020. That's a combined total of more than $607 million.

FOR THE LATEST CORONAVIRUS NEWS,
DOWNLOAD OUR APP:

Download on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

►Stay in the know! Sign up now for the Daily Blend Newsletter

Watch more:

VERIFY: Can asthma inhalers or nebulizers worsen coronavirus symptoms?