A week ago, if you openly suggest hospitals might be cooking the books to show higher numbers, your friends would have laughed at you.
But before Congress, the head of the Center for Disease and Prevention admitted that was the case.
After Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer suggested that there may be a “perverse incentive” for number manipulation, Robert Redfield of the CDC said “I think you are correct:”
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.
To read the whole story about “over-inflated numbers,” click here.