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Are US Doctors Overcounting COVID-19 Cases?

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Are US Doctors Overcounting COVID-19 Cases?

Are US Doctors Overcounting COVID-19 Cases?
May 11
21:03 2020

An American medical doctor who is also a state senator has blown the whistle on the American Medical Association (AMA), claiming that the professional organization is encouraging doctors to report more deaths from coronavirus than actually exist.

Minnesota’s Republican Senator Dr. Scott Jensen received a 7-page document that explained how to complete a death certificate with a COVID-19 diagnosis – even without a lab test confirming the diagnosis.

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Dr. Jensen said during an interview on April 9, 2020, with Fox News commentator Laura Ingraham:

“Right now, Medicare has determined that if you have a COVID-19 admission to the hospital, you’ll get paid $13,000. If that COVID-19 patient goes on a ventilator, you get $39,000 – three times as much.”

Ingraham led off the exchange with Jensen by quoting the guidance provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for certifying COVID-19 deaths:

“In cases where a definite diagnosis of COVID-19 cannot be made, but it is suspected or likely (e.g., the circumstances are compelling within a reasonable degree of certainty), it is acceptable to report COVID-19 on a death certificate as ‘probable’ or ‘presumed.'”

Dr. Jensen’s first comment to the CDC COVID-19 death certifications was:

“In short, it’s ridiculous.”

The healthcare professional reviewed the CDC’s manual on how to complete death certificates. In the section that speaks to physicians, precision and specificity are called for – not a hunch or “best guess.” The matter is far from trivial, said Jensen:

“The determination of the cause of death is a big deal. It has an impact on estate planning and future generations.”

The healthcare industry is at risk of losing the confidence of all Americans by fudging the data to support the WHO’s pandemic panic:

“The idea that we’re going to allow people to massage and ‘game’ the numbers is a real issue because we’re going to undermine the trust.”

Less than a month after the Ingraham/Jensen interview, protestors across the U.S. are fed up with sweeping, crippling socio-economic policies built around false information and unrealistic computer modeling. The Senator from Minnesota saw it coming:

“Right now, as we see politicians doing things that aren’t necessarily motivated on fact and science…[public trust in politicians] is already wearing thin.”

Dr. Jensen explained why marking a death based on a judgment call flies against everything physicians have been taught to practice. He stated that, if he had a patient with a fever and cough who died after three days – perhaps an elderly, fragile individual – and there happened to be an influenza epidemic in the local community, he wouldn’t put ‘influenza’ on the death certificate and has never been encouraged to do so:

“I would put, probably, respiratory arrest [on] the top line, the underlying cause of disease would be pneumonia, and under Contributing Factors, I might well put ’emphysema’ or ‘congestive heart failure.’ But I would never put ‘influenza’ down as the underlying cause of death. Yet, that’s what we’re being asked to do here.”

In another hypothetical example, a person gets hit by a bus and suffers a collapsed lung. Emergency room testing of the patient’s blood reveals the presence of COVID-19. Twenty minutes later, the patient dies of the collapsed lung. Jensen questioned following the AMA’s current guidance:

“We’re going to put that down as COVID-19? That doesn’t make any sense.”

When asked by a reporter if the COVID-19 death counts are being padded, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and a veteran White House health adviser, denied any foul play and blamed another unseen enemy:

“You will always have conspiracy theories when you have very challenging public health crises. They are nothing but distractions.”

Answering Dr. Fauci’s charge that all dissenters are nothing more than conspiracies theorists, Dr. Jensen observed:

“I would remind him that any time healthcare intersects with dollars, it gets awkward.”

Independent fact-checkers at the Poynter Institute’s PolitiFact confirmed that the dollar amounts Jensen mentioned were in line with an April 7 analysis published by the Kaiser Family Foundation:

“To project how much hospitals would get paid by the federal government for treating uninsured patients, we look at payments for admissions for similar conditions. For less severe hospitalizations, we use the average Medicare payment for respiratory infections and inflammations with major comorbidities or complications in 2017, which was $13,297. For more severe hospitalizations, we use the average Medicare payment for a respiratory system diagnosis with ventilator support for greater than 96 hours, which was $40,218.”

While there is no specific billing code – yet – for COVID-19, there is an economic relief package to motivate healthcare providers to diagnose COVID-19 as much as possible:

“Each of these average payments was then increased by 20% to account for the add-on to Medicare inpatient reimbursement for patients with COVID-19 that was included in the CARES [Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security] Act.”

Americans weary of the slew of new government restrictions based on fear and bad data are now demanding policies founded on facts.

Does that make them “conspiracy theorists,” too?

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