I can’t say I’d heard about it until recently. AAPS in November published an inflammatory article about the CARES act. Some excerpts:
Creating a “National Pandemic Emergency” provided justification for such sweeping actions that override individual physician medical decision-making and patients’ rights. The CARES Act provides incentives for hospitals to use treatments dictated solely by the federal government under the auspices of the NIH. These “bounties” must paid back if not “earned” by making the COVID-19 diagnosis and following the COVID-19 protocol.
The hospital payments include:
- A “free” required PCR test in the Emergency Room or upon admission for every patient, with government-paid fee to hospital.
- Added bonus payment for each positive COVID-19 diagnosis.
- Another bonus for a COVID-19 admission to the hospital.
- A 20 percent “boost” bonus payment from Medicare on the entire hospital bill for use of remdesivir instead of medicines such as Ivermectin.
- Another and larger bonus payment to the hospital if a COVID-19 patient is mechanically ventilated.
- More money to the hospital if cause of death is listed as COVID-19, even if patient did not die directly of COVID-19.
- A COVID-19 diagnosis also provides extra payments to coroners.
CMS implemented “value-based” payment programs that track data such as how many workers at a healthcare facility receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Now we see why many hospitals implemented COVID-19 vaccine mandates. They are paid more.
Because of obfuscation with medical coding and legal jargon, we cannot be certain of the actual amount each hospital receives per COVID-19 patient. But Attorney Thomas Renz and CMS whistleblowers have calculated a total payment of at least $100,000 per patient.
For more scintillating reading, see Additional Policy and Regulatory Revisions in Response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.
By no means do I agree with everything written and implied in the AAPS article. For instance, at my hospital we do everything we can to avoid intubation, and do it only if we think the patient is about to die in the next few minutes or couple hours if not intubated. If we thought intubation was futile, we wouldn’t do it.
The in-hospital mortality rate of intubated COVID-19 patients worldwide ranges from approximately 8% to 67%, but in the US, it is between 23 and 67%. There is substantial variability in the disease process, such that some patients rapidly deteriorate and die of severe respiratory failure or multiple organ failure within 1 to 2 weeks after intubation, while others recover, despite requiring mechanical ventilation.
The same source found the mortality rate of intubated COVID-19 patients within the two weeks after intubation at their hospitals was 45%. Unfortunately, the report doesn’t say what percentage of the initial survivors eventually died of COVID-19 anyway. That’s important information. The study at hand was done in New York early in the pandemic in 2020. I’d like to think we’re better at treating the disease now, 21 months later.
An Italian study, also done early in the pandemic in 2020, found that 43% of ICU (intensive care unit) COVID-19 intubated patients died in the hospital. If 57% survived intubation, that’s far from futile care.
If you find significantly different death rates in published studies, please share with a link in the Comments. I didn’t do an extensive search.
As far as I know, none of my hospitalist colleagues have ever been pressured to list COVID-19 as the cause of death when that was not actually the cause of death. Our death certificates are filed by us directly online with the State of Arizona.
What is very fishy about this illness is the degree to which hospital administrators, politicians, bureaucrats, and others have dictated how most physicians have to treat the illness and muzzled or attempted to muzzle dissident voices, disregarding the underlying science. In forty years of medical practice, I’ve never seen anything else like it.
Steve Parker, M.D.