Dr. Scott Jensen, a physician and senator in Minnesota, appeared on The Ingraham Angle on April 8 on Fox News. He made the claim that hospitals get paid more if Medicare patients are confirmed to have COVID-19 and get three times as much money if they use a ventilator.
On April 15, Jensen took to Facebook to bring up the topic again:
"How can anyone not believe that increasing the number of COVID-19 deaths may create an avenue for states to receive a larger portion of federal dollars. Already some states are complaining that they are not getting enough of the CARES Act dollars because they are having significantly more proportional COVID-19 deaths."
Jensen still wasn't done. On April 19th, he made a video on his Facebook where he tripled down on the assertion.
Here is how USA Today came to a TRUE ruling on their fact check that hospitals do get paid more if patients are listed as COVID-19 and on ventilators:
Hospitals and doctors do get paid more for Medicare patients diagnosed with COVID-19 or if it's considered presumed they have COVID-19 absent a laboratory-confirmed test, and three times more if placed on a ventilator to cover the cost of care and loss of business resulting from a shift in focus to treat COVID-19 cases.
This higher allocation of funds has been made possible under the CARES Act through a Medicare 20% add-on to its regular DRG payment for COVID-19 patients, as verified by USA TODAY through the American Hospital Association Special Bulletin on the topic.
- The Spectator: "Hospitals get more to list patients as COVID-19 and three times as much if the patient goes on ventilator"
- The World Net Daily: "Hospitals get paid more to list patients as COVID-19"
- Snopes: "Is Medicare paying hospitals $13K for patients diagnosed with COVID-19, $39K for those on ventilators
- PolitiFact: "Hospitals get paid more to list patients as COVID-19"
- Kaiser Health News: "Estimated cost for treating the uninsured hospitalized with COVID-19"
- Factcheck.org: "Hospital Payments and the COVID-19 Death Count"
- CARES Act
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "Guidance for Certifying Death Due to COVID-19"
- Verywellhealth.com: "How a DRG determines how much a hospital gets paid"
- American Hospital Association Special Bulletin
- American Hospital Association Special Bulletin on CARES Act.
- Email response from Dr. Marty Makary, a surgeon and professor of health policy and management at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
You know that means business with all of those sources.
Medicare has basically incentivized hospitals to blame everything on COVID-19, making it nearly impossible to know the true impact of this pandemic.