Are Hospitals Listing Patients as COVID-19 Positive for More Money?

Recent legislation pays hospitals higher Medicare rates for COVID-19 patients and treatment. Are hospitals getting $13,000 per patient if they write that on the diagnosis is COVID19 on the patient’s chart, and $35,000 for each patient if they are on ventilators in the ICU?  From FactCheck.org

Are hospitals classifying patients with flu and pneumonia to receive more money or do they have to validate with a positive Covid-19 test?  Some of these chart below might suggest that is what might be happening.  Here is another article suggesting this might be happening: Are U.S. Hospitals Abusing a Financial Loophole During the Pandemic? and another Are CDC Guidelines for Reporting COVID-19 Deaths Artificially Inflating Numbers?

I raised this question because the news does not seem to be writing about it and my 80 year old father was in the hospital with pneumonia at the beginning of this crisis with pneumonia and tested negative twice for Covid-19.  He was also put on a respirator for several days.  I can't imagine there is any possible way for the Government to validate patient records with Covid-19 tests.  However, I hope I am wrong.

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Do hospitals have financial motives to classify more patients as positive because of COVID-19 as their trauma and other ICU needs dwindle with empty beds?  Are hospitals were being paid three times more for patients needing ventilators?  Are administrators, putting pressure on medical staff to record COVID - related deaths - so that hospitals get more money from Medicare?  

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have classified COVID-19 cases with existing groups for respiratory infections and inflammations. A CMS spokesperson have said exact payments vary, depending on a patient’s principal diagnosis and severity, as well as treatments and procedures. There are also geographic variations.
An analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation looked at average Medicare payments for hospital admissions for the existing diagnosis-related groups and noted that the “average Medicare payment for respiratory infections and inflammations with major comorbidities or complications in 2017 … was $13,297. For more severe hospitalizations, we use the average Medicare payment for a respiratory system diagnosis with ventilator support for greater than 96 hours, which was $40,218.”

Here are several more charts below which raise the question if honest reporting is being done or is the system being gamed for financial benefit costing tax payers more money.  
Click on graph to launch interactive tool
Source CDC

Here is another chart of flu by year compared which seems no a lot worse than a normal season.


Here is a chart comparing last year's flu & pneumonia stats.
Here is a link to the source on @EthicalSkeptic

This chart below, based on CDC official data also seems to support contention that Covid19 is no worse than typical pneumonia and influenza deaths. In fact there are 31% fewer deaths from Covid19 than from pneumonia and influenza through April 28.  Or is this just another reporting snafu?  Red bar is pneumonia and flu and blue bar is all Covid deaths.

Haven't validated this source but looks credible at first glance Twitter

This chart derived from CDC numbers. Their ratio of covid/pneumonia are way off the charts compared to the rest of the country.  Why are NYC, NY, NJ so high?  Another reporting problem or are hospitals taking advantage of the system.

Haven't validated this source but looks credible at first glance Twitter

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