Hospitals no longer required to report COVID-19 admissions

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — This week marks a post-pandemic turning point, as hospitals are no longer required to report COVID-19 admissions to the government.

Almost as soon as the masks went on in 2020, the federal government began tracking the COVID virus in communities. States and hospitals were required to report positive tests and hospital admissions.

Last year they ended the test reporting requirement, but added that hospitals report flu and RSV in addition to COVID.

“So with the sunset of these requirements, the reporting from hospitals becomes voluntary,” said VDH Respiratory Disease Program Manager Elena Diskin. “[The] CDC has strongly encouraged hospitals to continue reporting voluntarily, given the value of these data.”

The data fueled dashboards such as the CDCs weekly FluView report, in which you could see how widespread flu activity was in your region.

“So, I think it’s really important for folks, especially those who need to watch more closely their own health or the health of those around them, to monitor the trends of respiratory viruses,” Diskin said.

Diskin said VDH can still track the spread of viruses because mandatory reporting was just one piece of the puzzle.

“So, emergency department visits are one of the faster ways to see changes in those trends,” she said. “And that’s really what we would point to as kind of are key indicator right now.”

Still, Diskin hopes hospitals will continue to provide the data. They can do it voluntarily. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has also proposed a new rule that would, in effect, reinstate required reporting beginning Oct. 1.

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