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Hospitals Failing To Meet New COVID-19 Data Reporting Mandate To Get Warning Letters : Shots

The federal government is starting to enforce new COVID-19 data reporting requirements for hospitals.

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The federal government is starting to enforce new COVID-19 data reporting requirements for hospitals.

Studio 642/Getty Images/Tetra images RF

The federal government is starting to crack down on the nation’s hospitals for not reporting complete COVID-19 data into a federal data collection system.

The enforcement timeline starts Wednesday, said Seema Verma, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in a call with reporters Tuesday. CMS issued a rule in early September requiring hospitals to report full, daily COVID-19 data to the federal government, including such information as the number of patients and ventilators they have. On Wednesday, CMS is sending letters to hospitals across America alerting many that they have not been in compliance.

Later this month, the department of Health and Human Services will also start posting a list of hospitals noting whether they are out of compliance.

The consequences are potentially severe. After multiple notifications, hospitals are subject to “termination from both Medicare and Medicaid, meaning the hospital would not receive reimbursement from these programs,” Verma says. This would be a major loss of funding and could go into effect as early as mid-December.

The warning letters are the latest in a string of actions, over several months, designed to get hospitals to provide more daily COVID-19 data to the federal government. Getting more complete COVID-19 data has been a mission of Dr. Deborah Birx, a lead on the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

Daily hospital admission data is being used “to understand where this epidemic is, how it’s moving through different populations and ensuring that we’re meeting the needs of specific hospitals and communities,” Dr. Birx said on the call. “In order to make that data useful, it also has to be timely, complete and valid.”

Hospitals have struggled with the reporting requests, which increased in July and became mandatory in September, and have added to their administrative burdens in the midst of a pandemic. Hospitals have been asked, cajoled and are now being forced to provide that data on a daily basis. The industry is very concerned.

“Tying data reporting to participation in the Medicare program remains an overly heavy-handed approach that could jeopardize access to hospital care for all Americans,” said Rick Pollack, head of the American Hospital Association, in a statement.

The hospital data reporting system drew controversy in mid-July, when the Department of Health and Human Services instructed hospitals to stop reporting data to the CDC, which had been collecting the data — reported voluntarily by hospitals — through a system many had used for decades. Instead, hospitals were told to report to a newer system directly managed by HHS, which oversees the CDC, raising concerns among politicians and public health experts of political interference in public health surveillance.

Hospitals were initially incentivized to report into the newer system by a threat that

The Latest: Europol Issues Warning About Pandemic Cybercrime | World News

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The European Union police agency says in a new report that cybercriminals are cashing in on the coronavirus crisis by targeting people and companies that are spending more time online due to work-from-home orders.

Europol issued its annual Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment Monday. It underscores earlier warnings by the Hague-based police organization to the EU’s 27 member states about cybercrime during the pandemic.

The assessment covers all aspects of cybercrime. It cautions that “many individuals and businesses that may not have been as active online before the crisis became a lucrative target” for cybercriminals who are able to quickly adapt existing online crime to fit emerging vulnerabilities.

Criminals also used the global pandemic to spread disinformation about the virus for financial gain.

The report says that distributing fake news online about potential cures or treatments “facilitated criminals seeking to sell items that they claim will help prevent or cure COVID-19.”

Another element of cybercrime that has risen during the pandemic is the online distribution of images of the sexual abuse of children and livestreaming abuse. The report says that the COVID-19 crisis “revealed an extra surge in online distribution” of such material.

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Americans fault US govt over foreign powers for virus crisis

— Trump, moving to show strength, aims for Monday release

— Biden campaign says Democratic presidential nominee tested negative for virus

— EU top official self-isolating after contact with virus case

— Asian shares rise as investors are optimistic about Trump’s recovery from virus

Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — The Danish Health Authority has called off the traditional Halloween routine where costumed children and adults go from house to house, asking for trick or treats, and said that such practices “may be associated with the risk of spreading the infection.”

In its latest recommendation, the government agency suggests organizing Halloween parties only with people who see each other often and “replace the door-to-door candy collection with other activities, such as carving out pumpkins (or) an outdoor treasure hunt” or making Halloween paper decorations.

“If you serve sweets, make sure they are wrapped or portioned,” the agency said.

In the past years, the Oct. 31 festivities have become rather big in Denmark that has seen 30,057 cases and 659 deaths.

DETROIT — Buses returned to Detroit streets Monday after a three-day work stoppage by drivers over coronavirus protections and disputes with riders.

Police officers will increase their presence as part of a deal between the city and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 26. Riders must continue to wear masks and they must not cross a barrier or approach the driver.

Drivers “generally do not feel safe at work due to violent and threatening circumstances presented by customers and members of the public,” the memo states.

Detroit buses serve an average of 85,000 people a day.

A driver was suspended for 29 days for

UK PM Johnson’s Battle With COVID-19 May Be a Warning for Trump | World News

By Guy Faulconbridge, Elizabeth Piper and Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters) – When Boris Johnson caught COVID-19 in March, the overweight British prime minister tried to work through the illness “in denial” – but ended up wearing an oxygen mask in an intensive care unit and was ultimately out of action for almost a month.

He later said he had fought for his life as the state prepared for the unthinkable: the possible death in office of a prime minister.

Johnson’s experience of trying to stay in charge while struggling with the disease may offer clues about the potential dangers ahead for U.S. President Donald Trump, now that he has tested positive.

After being accused of initially failing to appreciate the gravity of coronavirus crisis for Britain, Johnson, then 55, felt mild symptoms on March 26 while answering questions in the House of Commons chamber.

A few hours later, he received a positive test result, and the next day he made a video statement in which he said he was self-isolating, but would continue to work and lead Britain’s coronavirus response.

But during the next nine days, as he worked in isolation in an apartment above his official Downing Street residence and office, his condition deteriorated, with persistent symptoms including a high temperature.

Later, he said he had been in denial and continued to work despite feeling groggy and “pretty rough”, until doctors told him firmly to go to hospital.

Being a national leader has offered little protection against the new coronavirus.

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro spent weeks in quarantine after testing positive in July 7, and said he had taken antibiotics for an infection that left him feeling weak.

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez needed hospital treatment, and former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi developed double pneumonia and spent 10 days in hospital, being treated with the antiviral drug Remdesivir.

The 84-year-old was allowed home on Sept. 14 saying he had survived “the most dangerous challenge” of his life, and has made no public appearances since.

Johnson’s sudden deterioration after continuing to work may hold a warning for the 74-year-old Trump, now in full campaigning mode for the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 3.

Johnson was admitted to St Thomas’ Hospital in the evening of April 5. The next day he was moved to intensive care, where he received oxygen support but was not put on a ventilator.

“The bad moment came when it was 50-50 whether they were going to have to put a tube down my windpipe,” Johnson said later.

“The doctors had all sorts of arrangements for what to do if things went badly wrong … The bloody indicators kept going in the wrong direction.”

He later said he owed those doctors his life.

While Johnson was ill, his duties were assumed by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

“They had a strategy to deal with a ‘death of Stalin’-type scenario,” Johnson later said. “It was a tough old moment, I won’t deny it.”

Johnson left hospital on April

Ontario premier issues stern warning on second ‘wave or tsunami,’ Quebec enters red alert

COVID-19 In Canada
COVID-19 In Canada

Montreal, Quebec City and Chaudière-Appalaches move into the red alert level

Quebec Premier François Legault announced Monday that the regions of Montreal, Quebec City and Chaudière-Appalaches are moving into the red alert level, the most critical alert level in the province.

From Oct. 2 to Oct. 28, only people living at the same address can be inside a home at the same time, with an exception for a single caregiver.

Dining rooms in restaurants will be closed, but take-out services will be allowed, and other public spaces like bars, theatres, casinos and cinemas must shut down operations.

Places of worship can operate with a maximum of 25 people. Everyone must stay two metres apart outside and they must where a mask when that is not possible.

“We also need to reduce our contacts everywhere in Quebec,” Legault said. “We cannot wait for the red alert.”

“The number of cases is rising, if we don’t want our hospitals to be submerged, if we want to limit the number of deaths we must act strongly right now.”

Ontario could see thousands of COVID-19 cases a day in second wave

Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, explained that there are two models for the future of the province’s second wave, one that would lead to thousands of new cases a day.

The “most concerning” model is the “penultimate or the tsunami-type wave” where there is rapid exponential growth in cases that impacts the whole province.

“We would be up and having anywhere from three to four to five thousand new cases a day,” Dr. Williams said at a press conference on Monday.

The second model is identified by “undulating waves” and would continue into 2021, but modellers have not identified how big each of these shorter waves would be.

“This is a wakeup call for us, we have to pay attention to this in a serious way,” the Ontario’s chief medical officer of health said.

Dr. Williams added that considerations are still being brought forward to the public health measures table related to moving all of Ontario, or certain areas of the province, back to Stage 2 of Ontario’s reopening plan. He added that the core difference between the COVID-19 situation now and when restrictions were initially put in is that virus was all over the province, instead of mainly being identified in more urban areas of Ontario. Dr. Williams confirmed that some of the recommendations being put forward are “pan-Ontario” measures and restrictions.

The province’s chief medical officer of health asked the public to be cautious about who they interact with, particularly individuals who are not taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously.

“We’re getting some people out there who are basically saying, we don’t really care about the rules and we’re going to be cavalier about it,” Dr. Williams explained. “I would avoid contact with those people…because you have no idea, and they have no idea, if they’ve been exposed or not at this stage.”