Press Releases

HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Confirms States are Inflating COVID-19 Fatality Numbers to Receive Higher Payments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today in a hearing entitled “The Administration’s Efforts to Procure, Stockpile, and Distribute Critical Supplies” in the Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis, Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) asked Admiral Brett P. Giroir, M.D., Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) about states reporting inflated COVID-19 fatality numbers, which Admiral Giroir confirmed. Their exchange can be found below. 

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Rep. Luetkemeyer: “There are reports -- and I have been talking to medical professionals -- that there’s been misreporting of deaths for people who may have been involved in for instance, an auto accident but had COVID in their system, and that death’s then being reported as a COVID death because there apparently is perverse incentive to do that. The hospitals get paid more for a COVID death than they do for an auto accident.”

Adm. Giroir: “The CDC that gathers the statistics is completely dependent on the reports of the local coroners... Yes, there appear to be some misincentives to over-code.”