Check It Out!

Someone I love and respect was told doctors get $30,000 for every COVOD-19 patient who dies!  Even in today’s insane world, this seemed outlandish.  So, I checked it out.

Like a virus, unchecked misunderstanding and lies spread exponentially.  It is always prudent to think and investigate rumor and hearsay, especially from “social media!” 

The closest I can find to a source for allegation doctors’ profit from COVID-19 deaths is a Fox, Laura Ingram interview of with Minnesota Senator, Dr. Scott Jensen.  The good doctor stated, “Right now, Medicare is determining that if you have a COVID-19 admission to the hospital you get $13,000.  If that COVID-19 patient is on a ventilator you get $39,000, three time as much.  Nobody can tell me, after 35 years in the world of medicine, that sometimes those kinds of things impact what we do.”

In a, phone interview, Dr. Jensen “walked back” a seeming implication doctors cheat, “Do I think people are misclassifying?  No.” cites a Kaiser Foundation analysis finding the “average Medicare payment for respiratory infections and inflammations with major comorbidities or complications in 2017 .  .  .  was $13,297.  For more server hospitalizations, we use the average Medicare payment for a respiratory system diagnosis with ventilator support for greater than 96 hours, which was $42,218.”  It seems important to note, “respiratory infections and inflammations” include influenza, pneumonia, Legionares’ disease, tuberculosis, COVID-19, and others respiratory ailments.

According to , “Robert Berenson, an institute fellow at the Urban Institute, said the notion that hospitals are profiting on the pandemic—as some of the social media post may imply—isn’t borne out by facts, either.”  Berenson and others point out, “’upcoding,’  .  .  .  can result in civil and criminal liabilities.”

Before we pass it on, check it out!