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U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield has confirmed that, despite claims otherwise from the left, there is indeed a “perverse incentive” for hospitals to overcount their coronavirus deaths by falsely attributing unrelated deaths to the virus.
Asked during a House Oversight and Reform hearing Friday to comment on what Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, a Republican, described as a “perverse incentive for medical folks to claim that somebody died of COVID versus an automobile accident, for instance,” Redfield admitted that the congressman had a point.
Watch the full back-and-forth discussion below:
“I think you’re correct, in that we’ve seen this in other disease processes too, really in the HIV epidemic, somebody may have a heart attack, but also have HIV — the hospital would prefer the [classification] for HIV because there’s greater reimbursement,” Redfield replied.
Similarly, because of the CARES Act passed by Congress in March, hospitals receive a 20 percent premium when seeking payment for Medicare patients who died allegedly of the coronavirus.
“So I do think there’s some reality to that. When it comes to death reporting, though, ultimately, it’s how the physician defines it in the death certificate and … we review all of those death certificates,” the CDC director continued.
“So I think, probably it is less operable in the cause of death, although I won’t say there are not some cases. I do think though [that] when it comes to hospital reimbursement issues or individuals that get discharged, there could be some play in that for sure.”
This is a point that’s been noted repeatedly, only to be dismissed as a “conspiracy theory” by members of the far-left, including those in the media.
One of the first to speak out about it was Dr. Scott Jensen, MD, who also happens to be a Republican member of the Minnesota Senate. In an interview back in April, he revealed he’d received a disturbing guidance from the CDC’s own National Vital Statistics System urging him to misclassify unrelated deaths.
“Last Friday I received a 7-page document that told me if I had an 86-year-old patient that had pneumonia but was never tested for COVID-19, but some time after she came down with pneumonia we learned that she had been exposed to her son who had no symptoms but later on was identified with COVID-19, then it would be appropriate to diagnose on the death certificate COVID-19,” he said at the time.
Jump to page six to see the proof for yourself:
Following that bombshell interview, he began regularly appearing on Fox News and warning that both the NVSS’s recommendation and the already inherent “perverse incentive” were creating a situation where the number of coronavirus deaths nationwide were likely being overcounted.
In response, members of the left began accusing him of being a conspiracy theorist and spreading so-called “misinformation,” prompting him to strike back.
We’ll discuss the MN Medical Board investigation following two public complaints that I have spread “misinformation” about COVID-19 on social media.
As I have said before, this could happen to any of us. pic.twitter.com/ymRCbTo2za
— Scott Jensen (@drscottjensen) July 9, 2020
Let’s talk about the misinformation @GovTimWalz has been spreading…
74,000 COVID-19 deaths in MN?
1,000 COVID-19 deaths a day in July?
Buying a $7 million morgue to store all the bodies?
— Scott Jensen (@drscottjensen) July 10, 2020
Yet a growing body of evidence seems to bolster his arguments.
First, even Dr. Deborah Birx, a top member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, has complained of possibly inflated coronavirus death numbers.
Second, as of late July, at least 3,721 of the alleged coronavirus deaths that had been recorded had involved “intentional and unintentional injury, poisoning and other adverse events,” according to the CDC’s own data:
We all saw the motorcycle accident with COVID on the death certificate. A rarity? Not really.
The CDC reports that 3,721 death certificates in the COVID count also list “intentional and unintentional injury, poisoning and other adverse events.”https://t.co/tEdPgzMiNX
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) July 23, 2020
And these accidental injury deaths are a bigger share of the COVID death certificate counts in the younger age groups. 9.1% of under 25 and 8.6% of 25-34. pic.twitter.com/Q7qHHZciqY
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) July 23, 2020
And lastly, multiple reports have emerged of states having to adjust their coronavirus death rates downward because of misclassification issues.
“An investigation in Florida found that several deaths were wrongly attributed to the virus, including the case of a man who died from a gunshot wound to the head,” the Washington Examiner notes.
“In Texas, more than 3,000 people were recently removed from the overall coronavirus count because they were never actually tested but considered ‘probable’ cases.”
The left nevertheless remains invested in the narrative that this all make-believe, in part because of a dubious Yale University study that claimed coronavirus deaths are being undercounted.
But given how often the media’s favored studies turn out to be false and are subsequently retracted, it’s not clear that it’s worth trusting Yale’s study over the vast quantities of counter-evidence that has emerged, including the CDC director’s own words.
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