Press Releases

Luetkemeyer Sends Letters to CDC and HHS Regarding COVID-19 Fatality Misreporting

Washington, August 5, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) sent letters to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director, Dr. Robert Redfield and Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Health, Admiral Brett Giroir who have both agreed in the Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis that hospitals could be reporting unrelated fatalities as COVID-19 deaths to receive more funding. The letters and more information can be found below. 

“As you know, hospitals receive a greater reimbursement from Medicare for any patient on a ventilator and receiving intensive services. However, this reimbursement doesn't change whether the care is for pneumonia or COVID-19. Under the CARES Act, an additional 20% was added to the reimbursement amount for all COVID-19 related services. I am concerned that this has provided a perverse incentive for hospitals to code a patient’s death being due to COVID-19, even if it was not the ultimate cause,” said Congressman Luetkemeyer.

Letter to CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield can be found HERE

Letter to HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir can be found HERE.

Background: 
On July 2, 2020 in the Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis, Admiral Giroir confirmed that there were “misincentives” for hospitals to over-code COVID-19 deaths. Click HERE to watch. On July 31, 2020 in the Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis, Dr. Redfield suggested that similar to the HIV epidemic, hospitals prefer the COVID-19 death classification for greater reimbursement. Click HERE to watch.