United States hospitals have a “perverse” monetary “incentive” to increase their count of coronavirus fatalities, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s director Robert Redfield indicated under questioning from a Republican lawmaker during a House panel hearing on Friday.
Asked to comment on what Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) described as the “perverse incentive” during a hearing by the House Oversight and Reform Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, Dr. Redfield responded:
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.
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.