The cost of submitting quality data to the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) varies greatly from hospital to hospital, according to 36 Forum members who provided input to an informal September poll.

Participants were asked: “How much do you estimate your organization will spend in CY13 participating in the Medicare hospital inpatient/outpatient quality reporting program?” Actual costs might include:

  • Labor: Costs related to manual data abstraction from charts and systems
  • Software: Costs associated with the outsourced service that submit the data to CMS
  • Compliance functions: Labor/consulting costs associated with reviewing the regulations and work needed to ensure the data are captured to fulfill requirements.

Eleven hospitals and health systems shared CY cost estimates as detailed below (beds numbers have been rounded):

  • 20 beds: $100,000
  • 25 beds: $25,000
  • 50 beds: $400,000
  • 75 beds: $55,000
  • 100 beds: $110,000
  • 275 beds: $250,000
  • 300 beds: $350,000
  • 350 beds: $231,990
  • 450 beds: $2,000,000
  • 700 beds: $1,428,000

The CY cost estimates by bed size ranged from $555 to $8,000. Most answers were in the $1,000 +/- $500 per bed range with a few showing higher amounts.

All but one of these responses is based on an educated guess. Six of the respondents had conducted a cost/benefit analysis on quality reporting, and three are in the process. But many of those respondents who had completed cost/benefit analyses did not share a specific cost estimate.

The article is based on an informal poll that was conducted on the HFMA Forum listserv in September and October 2013. Thirty-seven Forum members responded to this poll; 36 were hospital and health system leaders.

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