CDPHE to update COVID-19 hospital reporting to include reason for hospitalization


Boram Kim


The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will update its hospital data to improve COVID-19 reporting among hospitalizations as part of today’s regular 4 p.m. data update. In order to improve data transparency and provide the public with better hospitalization information, CDPHE requested and began receiving additional data about COVID hospitalizations from hospitals and health systems. Previously, CDPHE received only discharge diagnosis, which became available several days after discharge and could not offer timely insight into the status of currently hospitalized patients.


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This detailed information provides a robust and accurate representation of hospitalizations in Colorado to share with the public. It will be updated weekly on the COVID-19 data dashboard. CDPHE is able to use this new information to better describe whether patients with COVID-associated hospitalizations are hospitalized because of COVID infection (“for COVID”) or some other reason (“with COVID”). Hospitals are required to report information for all COVID-associated hospitalizations, including hospitalized patients who test positive for COVID and those with an admission or discharge diagnosis of COVID infection.

CDPHE will use billing codes, discharge diagnoses, and admitting diagnoses to determine if a patient was likely hospitalized “for” or “with” COVID-19. Billing codes provide the most specific information, but they can be delayed up to several weeks after the patient is discharged and are not available for currently hospitalized patients. When billing codes are not yet available, CDPHE uses discharge and admitting diagnoses for preliminary classification.

CDPHE will use these codes to categorize and display data in the following categories:

  1. Hospitalized for COVID if one of the first two billing diagnosis codes includes “COVID-19,”  “pneumonia due to coronavirus disease 2019,” or “pneumonia due to SARS-associated coronavirus.”
  2. Hospitalized with COVID if the patient tested positive for COVID-19 but neither of their first two billing diagnosis codes is listed in section (1.)
  3. Presumptive for COVID if discharge diagnosis includes one of the less-specific COVID-19-related diagnosis codes. The admission diagnosis code is used if the patient has not yet been discharged.
  4. Presumptive with COVID if the patient has tested positive for COVID-19 but has not been admitted to the hospital for the reasons listed in section (3.)
  5. Unknown if none of these fields are complete.

As part of this update, CDPHE will discontinue the display of three metrics that are no longer required in reporting: COVID-19 persons under investigation, patients discharged or transferred within 24 hours, and adult critical care ventilators in use.

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 This press release was provided by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.