Donald Trump sparked anger among doctors after he claimed they overstated COVID 19 deaths for financial reasons, while Ashish K. Jha, Dean of Brown University School of Public Health, dismissed the President’s claim as “Facebook trash.
At a rally in Wisconsin on Saturday, the President said that COVID-19-related death reporting systems in the U.S. are “a little backward”.
Trump told the audience: “You know some countries that report differently. If someone has a heart problem and dies from COVID, they say they are dying from a heart problem. If someone has terminal cancer and dies of COVID, we report about him. And you know that doctors get more money and hospitals get more money. Think of this incentive”.
He continued, “We’re starting to look at things.”
The US continues to lead the world in confirmed coronavirus cases, as it has for months, and studies have shown that the COVID 19 pandemic has taken a physical and psychological toll on healthcare workers. According to Johns Hopkins University, over 225,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. and more than 8.6 million cases have been reported.
Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, hospitals receive a Medicare supplement of 20 percent for COVID-19 patients to cover the additional costs of treating these patients.
However, Ashish K. Jha, Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, said the President’s claim was “Facebook trash. He said on Twitter that while hospitals will receive an increase in funding if a patient has pneumonia due to COVID, making false diagnoses could result in doctors being fined and sent to jail.
Even more nonsense
There is no higher refund that I can find for car accident victims who are COVID.
And if you bill these patients as COVID pneumonia, that is fraud.
This is Facebook trash
Why has Congress, President passed a law giving hospitals additional $ for COVID?
– Ashish K. Jha (@ashishkjha) October 25, 2020
Jha said that the idea that patients die “with” COVID and are not documented “because of” the disease is “clinical nonsense. There is no evidence of higher reimbursement for, say, car accident victims with COVID-19, and billing these patients as COVID-19 pneumonia is also fraudulent, he said.
Jha said, “Ignore the noise and misinformation about COVID billing, etc. While doctors and nurses are dying on the front lines, our managers are not working to get them protective equipment. Instead, they falsely accuse our front line providers of fraud. This is reprehensible.”
A number of professional associations have spoken out against the President’s allegations. Dr. Jacqueline W. Fincher, president of the American College of Physicians, in a statement on behalf of the organization, described Trump’s remarks as “a reprehensible attack on the ethics and professionalism of physicians.
She said in the statement on the organization’s website that the false claim that the number of deaths is too high “undermines the work of doctors and health authorities in reminding the public of the severity of the pandemic and recommending steps to reduce the transmission of the virus, cases and deaths.
Fincher said several recent studies suggest that the number of deaths from COVID-19 is likely to be “much higher than the horrific figure of 220,000 deaths officially attributed to the virus.
The American College of Emergency Physicians [ACEP] said in a statement on its Web site that it was “appalled by President Trump’s reckless and false claims that doctors overestimate the number of deaths related to COVID-19,” and stated that health care workers “risked their lives day after day for almost a year, to fight the biggest public health crisis of a generation – while they watched countless patients die alone, going to work without adequate protective equipment and struggling with the overwhelming fear of falling ill or passing the virus on to their loved ones”.
it was said: “To suggest that emergency physicians would increase the number of deaths from this pandemic in order to win financially is insulting, especially as many are indeed under unprecedented financial strain as they continue to bear the brunt of COVID-19. These baseless claims do not only do a disservice to our heroes in the health care system,