ZEW - Centre for European Economic Research

06/28/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/28/2023 01:42

No Evidence of Capacity Reporting Manipulation in Hospitals // ZEW Study on Reported Number of Intensive Care Beds by Hospitals in COVID-19 Aid Payments

ZEW Study on Reported Number of Intensive Care Beds by Hospitals in COVID-19 Aid Payments

Hospitals in Germany received financial support if they had a high occupancy of intensive care beds. Suspicions were raised by the Federal Court of Auditors that hospitals may have manipulated the reported number of intensive care beds to obtain this support.

Hospitals in Germany received financial support during the second and third waves of the coronavirus pandemic if they had a high occupancy of intensive care beds. However, suspicions were raised by the Federal Court of Auditors that hospitals may have manipulated the reported number of intensive care beds to obtain this support. Yet, a recent study by ZEW Mannheim shows that there is no empirical evidence to support this claim. Neither the distribution of reported available capacities nor their evolution over time exhibit significant anomalies.

The decrease in intensive care bed capacity during the aforementioned pandemic waves in Germany was more likely a result of the direct impact of the surge in COVID-19 cases rather than manipulated reports. "There is no empirical evidence to support the assertion that hospitals strategically reported a higher bed occupancy rate to gain additional financial aid," says Dr. Simon Reif, head of the "Health Markets and Health Policy" Research Group at ZEW and co-author of the study. The ZEW researchers examined how hospitals responded to government financial support during the second and third waves of the pandemic from November 2020 to April 2021. One criterion for receiving payments was an occupancy rate of over 75 per cent for intensive care beds in a city or district - a metric that hospitals could directly influence. The Federal Court of Auditors, among others, had suggested the possibility of such capacity manipulation.