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Analysis

American College of Physicians: False Financial Gain Accusations Against Physicians 'Reprehensible'

By Melanie Blackman  
   October 26, 2020

The organization stated that the false accusations "undermines the work by physicians and public health authorities."

The American College of Physicians (ACP) released a statement Sunday to counter assertions by President Donald Trump and others suggesting physicians have falsely attributed COVID-19 deaths for financial gain.

ACP stated that the false accusations undermine “the work by physicians and public health authorities to remind the public of the seriousness of the pandemic and to recommend steps to reduce transmission of the virus, cases, and deaths."

"Internists and other frontline physicians play an essential role in caring for patients and saving lives during this global public health emergency, often without sufficient personal protective equipment and while putting their own lives at risk," the statement read. "To suggest that physicians would misstate the cause of death for financial gain is false and represents a reprehensible attack on our profession and ethics."

Last month, NPR reported that the Trump administration was preparing to crack down on hospitals for not reporting COVID-19 data.

"ACP notes that several recent studies suggest that the actual number of people who have died from COVID-19 is much higher than the terrible toll of 220,000 deaths officially attributed to the virus," the statement read.

President Trump isn’t the only politician who has suggested that physicians and hospitals are falsely attributing COVID-19 deaths for financial gain.

During an interview in April, Senator Scott Jensen R-Minn. suggested that hospitals get paid more if Medicare patients are documented having COVID-19. He also said if a Medicare patient needs a ventilator, the hospital will get paid three times that amount.

A fact-check from USA Today found "there have been no public reports that hospitals are exaggerating COVID-19 numbers to receive higher Medicare payments."

Melanie Blackman is the strategy editor at HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.


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