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Tue Aug 4, 2020, 03:18 PM

Do hospitals get paid more for COVID-19 patients?

Everyone on Facebook or Twitter seems to know someone who knows someone whoís got the real scoop about the novel coronavirus. Too often, though, the stories on social media are half-truths, honest mistakes or lies. The Enquirer asked experts to respond to some of the coronavirus questions flying around the internet. Hereís what we found:

Are hospitals paid more to care for coronavirus patients?

Yes, hospitals get an additional 20% for Medicare patients treated for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. But thereís more to the story behind this temporary reimbursement.

The higher Medicare rate stirred controversy in April after Republican Sen. Scott Jensen, a Minnesota doctor, speculated on Fox News that the additional money might inspire hospital administrators to make it look like routine pneumonia cases were COVID-19 cases.

Months later, though, the higher payouts donít appear to have been a windfall for hospitals.

The Ohio Hospital Association estimates its 240 members have lost about $3 billion since early March because of pandemic-related limits on nonessential surgeries and procedures, which can be as much as 40% of a hospitalís revenue.

The financial strain is exacerbated by the higher cost of caring for COVID patients, which is why Congress approved the higher Medicare rate as part of the $2 trillion CARES Act.

The higher rate applies only to hospitalized Medicare patients, who, according to Beckerís Hospital Review, make up about 41% of U.S. hospital patients. Because that percentage varies by hospital, and because the formula for Medicare reimbursement is so complicated, not all hospitals receive the same amount of money per patient.

ďItís important to note that the money we receive for caring for COVID-19 patients covers only a small portion of the cost of caring for them,Ē said Nanette Bentley, spokeswoman for Bon Secours Mercy Health in Cincinnati.


No cases of intentional misidentification of COVID patients have been reported, and a COVID diagnosis requires documentation, such as a positive test. Falsifying those documents would be unethical and illegal.


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Reply Do hospitals get paid more for COVID-19 patients? (Original post)
Ohiogal Aug 2020 OP
procon Aug 2020 #1
Kittycow Aug 2020 #2

Response to Ohiogal (Original post)

Tue Aug 4, 2020, 03:55 PM

1. Charges rise with the level of care needed.

Patients in ICU and CCU beds require significantly more intensive care than a patient in an acute care medical bed. Everyone who is brought in to support that patient adds their fees. Supplies and equipment are charged. Very specialized care, like treating contagious patients, incur even more costs.

Despite getting vaccinated every year, i had the garden variety flu last year. I felt relatively fine except it was a bit hard to breathe.They put me in a negative pressure room and everyone who entered had to pass through an airlock passageway. They wore head to toe PPE and were very careful about following protocols and keeping their checklists. I think the basic room charge was $1700 per day.

COVID 19 patients on ventilators would have been charged much, much more.

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Response to Ohiogal (Original post)

Tue Aug 4, 2020, 03:56 PM

2. Thanks for posting this.

My husband keeps ranting conspiracy theories at me and I didn't know how to rebut this particular one.

I could have looked it up but I try to ignore him most of the time. He's getting unhealthily obsessed with current events and living in Portland (Oregon) where he has to make deliveries downtown isn't helping things.

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