U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield agreed that some hospitals have a monetary incentive to overcount coronavirus deaths as they do deaths for other diseases.
“I think you’re correct in that we’ve seen this in other disease processes, too. Really, in the HIV epidemic, somebody may have a heart attack but also have HIV — the hospital would prefer the [classification] for HIV because there’s greater reimbursement,” Redfield said during a House panel hearing Friday when asked by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer about potential “perverse incentives.”
Redfield continued: “So, I do think there’s some reality to that. When it comes to death reporting, though, ultimately, it’s how the physician defines it in the death certificate, and … we review all of those death certificates. So I think, probably it is less operable in the cause of death, although I won’t say there are not some cases. I do think though [that] when it comes to hospital reimbursement issues or individuals that get discharged, there could be some play in that for sure.”
Questions have been raised about coronavirus counting in hospitals across the country, and conflicting conclusions have been raised about whether or not deaths are being accurately counted. (Read more from “CDC: Hospitals Have Incentive to Overcount Coronavirus Deaths” HERE)