As you’ll see by end of this article, the specific decisions about money mentioned here affect life and death outcomes for patients.
A state senator has suddenly come out of nowhere and made big news.
My conversation with Minnesota State Senator, Dr. Scott Jensen, took place after I read the explosive statement he made to FOX News, on April 9th. So let’s start with his earlier FOX statement :
“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. Nobody can tell me, after 35 years in the world of medicine, that sometimes those kinds of things [don’t] [have] impact on what we do…”
I reached out to Senator Jensen, and obtained clarification. Jensen told me his remark pertained to patients with Medicare coverage. And the 2 payouts he mentioned are standard insurance payments from Medicare which would go to the hospital.
Of course, he explained, some hospitals have a pay-share plan with their staff doctors. Therefore, a windfall for the hospital is passed along to those doctors.
Jensen told me: Take a Medicare patient who is diagnosed with simple non-COVID pneumonia. The hospital would receive a one-time Medicare lump-sum payout of $4600.
However, if that Medicare patient is diagnosed with COVID-19 pneumonia, the Medicare coverage is a one-time $13,000 payment. And if the hospital puts that COVID-19 pneumonia patient on a ventilator, the one-time payment is $39,000. NOTE: It doesn’t matter how long these patients stay in hospital—there is only going to be one lump-sum insurance payment.
So, I infer, there are several types of financial incentives for hospitals—
ONE: Diagnose as many people as possible with COVID-19.
TWO: Diagnose as many people as possible with COVID-19 who have light symptoms—making it easy to move them out of the hospital quickly.
THREE: Put as many COVID patients as possible on ventilators for as short a time as possible.
Under the heading of “diagnose as many patients as possible with COVID-19,” there is also the key question of what constitutes “a COVID-19 patient”—and how the use of that label can be multiplied and manipulated. Senator Jensen made a few choice comments to FOX on this subject as well.
From FOX News: “Dr. Scott Jensen, a Minnesota family physician who is also a Republican state senator, told ‘The Ingraham Angle’ Wednesday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines for doctors to certify whether a patient has died of coronavirus are ‘ridiculous’ and could be misleading the public.”
“Host Laura Ingraham read Jensen the [CDC] guidelines, which say: ‘In cases where a definite diagnosis of COVID cannot be made but is suspected or likely (e.g. the circumstances are compelling with a reasonable degree of certainty) it is acceptable to report COVID-19 on a death certificate as ‘probable’ or ‘presumed.’”
“In response, Jensen told Ingraham the CDC’s death certificate manual tells physicians to focus on ‘precision and specificity,’ but the coronavirus death certification guidance runs completely counter to that axiom.”
“’The idea that we are going to allow people to massage and sort of game the numbers is a real issue because we are going to undermine the [public] trust,’ he said. ‘And right now as we see politicians doing things that aren’t necessarily motivated on fact and science, their trust in politicians is already wearing thin’.”
“…Jensen then told Ingraham that under the CDC guidelines, a patient who died after being hit by a bus and tested positive for coronavirus would be listed as having presumed to have died from the virus regardless of whatever damage was caused by the bus.”
“…Jensen also reacted to Dr. Anthony Fauci’s response to a question about the potential for the number of coronavirus deaths being ‘padded,’ in which the NIAID director described the prevalence of ‘conspiracy theories’ during ‘challenging’ times in public health.”
“’I would remind him that anytime health care intersects with dollars it gets awkward,’ Jensen said.”
Here is where everything Scott Jensen is saying can turn very grim—
As I’ve reported , New York ER doctor, Cameron Kyle-Sidell , has made public statements about the misuse of ventilators with supposed COVID-19 patients. He’s stated that some of these patients actually have functioning lungs. Their immediate and dire life-threatening situation is straight oxygen deficit, as if they have high-altitude sickness. But pressure on the lungs, applied by the use of ventilators via standard rigid protocols, he says, can cause damage, and even death.
Imagine what would happen if another way—NOT ventilators—was found to usefully and safely deliver oxygen to these patients.
The hospitals wouldn’t get their huge $39,000 payout for each Medicare patient put on a ventilator.
What do you think a hospital would say…what decision would the hospital make…would the hospital allow a better and safer and necessary delivery system for oxygen? For every labeled “COVID-19 patient” whose desperate emergency is a straight deficit of oxygen?
Would the hospital forego all those huge Medicare coverage payouts?