Fact or Fiction: Profiting off pandemic patients?

Explaining Medicare "Add-On" for COVID-19 hospital patients
Updated: Aug. 6, 2020 at 9:18 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Some social media posts that are circulating question whether the count of COVID cases is accurate, claiming that hospitals could be inclined to inflate the numbers for financial benefit.

“That’s baloney,” said Charleston Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Robert Ball.

He said, nurses and doctors are focused on the best care, not the potential reimbursements.

“Any frontline healthcare worker, many of whom can catch it and die from it, any of them would tell you no. We’re not making money. We’re losing money for a variety of reasons,” Ball said.

The Kasier Family Foundation estimates that for the uninsured, the average medicare payment is $13,297 for a hospitalization that's less severe and $40,218 for a patient treated on a ventilator for several days.

Medicare will pay hospitals a 20% add-on for COVID-19 patients as designed in the CARES Act because hospitals are losing money and using so many resources.

But they said that's far from a pandemic profit.

“While COVID is jamming hospitals and intensive care units and ventilators, hospitals don’t admit elective surgeries. And those are the money makers for hospitals. Many elective surgeries continue to be postponed and rolled over month over month. So no, hospitals and healthcare workers are not making any money on this. That’s absurd,” Ball said.

The American Hospital Association is projecting losses to hospitals nationwide to total at least $323.1 billion this year.

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