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VERIFY: Are hospitals paid more for treating coronavirus patients?

Government programs based on a provision in the CARES Act are paying hospitals more for treating coronavirus patients.

WASHINGTON — QUESTION: 

Are hospitals paid more for treating coronavirus patients?

ANSWER: 

Yes, government programs – based on a provision in the CARES Act – are paying hospitals more for treating coronavirus patients.

 

SOURCES:

The CARES Act

The Kaiser Family Foundation

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

PROCESS:

Some social media posts in the past month have suggested hospitals could embellish coronavirus numbers to their benefit.

So, our Verify team looked at whether hospitals are paid more for treating coronavirus patients.

First, let’s note the CARES Act created a 20 percent add-on to be paid for Medicare patients with COVID-19.

Our team also looked at a Kaiser Family Foundation study to get a ballpark on those numbers. The study estimated payments for COVID-19 hospitalizations, based on patients with similar diagnoses.

A total of $13,297 was noted for “Respiratory infections and inflammations with major comorbidities or complications in 2017.” And $40,218 was noted for more severe hospitalizations.

However, exact payments vary on a bunch of factors, according to a spokesperson for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, like geographic location, and specific treatments for patients.

Ultimately, we can verify – yes. Government programs based on a provision in the CARES Act are paying hospitals more for treating coronavirus patients.

But, that doesn’t mean hospital are juicing their numbers for more money. In fact, a Medicare spokesperson said if a hospital filed a claim with an inaccurate diagnosis, the hospital could face civil or criminal charges.

Additionally, when it comes to counting cases and deaths, the CDC has guidelines that state deaths should be reported if there is a positive test. If there isn’t a definite diagnosis, but it is “suspected,” then COVID-19 can be reported on a death certificate.

RELATED: VERIFY: Can you take money out of your 401K during the pandemic without penalty?

RELATED: VERIFY: Is COVID-19 impacting more meatpacking employees than health care workers?

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