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Saturday, March 6, 2021

Doctors Abandoning Medical Ethics for Covid-19 Money

Written by  Sandy Szwarc
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Doctors Abandoning Medical Ethics for Covid-19 Money

Untold numbers of Americans have gone without medical care for more than a year now, resulting in health conditions becoming worse, diagnoses being missed, unmeasurable stress for anxious patients and families, and worsening prognoses.

One reason people haven't received care has been ignored in the media, but reveals a disturbing decline of ethics in medicine and politics: The healthcare industry has been using Covid-19 screening tests to deny care to patients who do not want the test.

 

With good reason, a lot of people don't want to be tested and forced to become part of the politicization of Covid-19. They recognize that the overwhelming body of scientific evidence, and worldwide science and infectious disease experts, have shown PCR tests to be indefensible for clinical or public health use. These tests do not culture for or diagnose the SARS-CoV-2 virus; are not a measure of whether someone is infectious or contagious; give mostly false positive rates; lack sound medical or scientific support for testing asymptomatic people, even going against Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization recommendations; and the tests have been commercialized under "emergency use authorization," bypassing the traditional FDA-approval process requiring standardization, manufacturing quality controls and proven accuracy.*

They're being threatened to do what hospitals say, or risk being left to suffer and die.

What succumbing to a Covid-19 test does mean is that their personal information is turned over to a government database for contact tracing, subjecting them and their family to government interventions, quarantine, restricted movements, further testing, and compulsory treatments. All of this for a virus that's more like a seasonal flu virus, with a 99% survival rate for most everyone. Testing, which generates more "cases" the more tests that are done, is the key political and marketing strategy to keep public perceptions of a pandemic going forever.

Covid-19 testing isn't about protecting health care workers or other patients from the virus, or protecting patients, themselves. And informed people know it.

Yet, their rightful choice to not be subjected to invasive tests means no medical care. They're being threatened to do what hospitals say, or risk being left to suffer and die.

Far too many healthcare professionals have chosen to look the other way; have abandoned their ethical oaths to advocate for their patients; and have failed their professional obligation to study and follow rigorous and objective science. Instead, they've gone along with the relentless Covid-19 politicized marketing, knowing the harmful effects on people. The undeniable reality is, they've found it not only easier, but personally advantageous.

I watched a cancer patient with raw wounds on her face from cancer surgery be stopped at the hospital door and not allowed admission without putting on a mask.

As the executive editor of the British Medical Journal wrote last November, "Covid-19 has unleashed state corruption on a grand scale, and it is harmful to public health." Government appointees, politicians and the medical industry "are responsible for this opportunistic embezzlement" at a time when it is even more important to safeguard science, said Dr. Kamran Abbasi, MD.

"Politicization of science was enthusiastically deployed by some of history’s worst autocrats and dictators, and it is now regrettably commonplace in democracies. The medical-political complex tends towards suppression of science to aggrandize and enrich those in power. And, as the powerful become more successful, richer, and further intoxicated with power, the inconvenient truths of science are suppressed. When good science is suppressed, people die."

PCR testing has become the most tyrannical aspect of government mitigation mandates. But now, like in history, it's not the government leading the PCR testing mandates, but hospitals and healthcare providers.

Our own doctors.

In order to receive medical care, hospitals across the country are forcing people to submit to a PCR test. It has become mandatory. Any patient who doesn't comply is being refused care by hospitals − including hospitals claiming to hold Christian missions.

Unless they get the PCR test for government contact tracing, even patients needing an emergent or a critical medical procedure, are being refused treatment.

Every patient must also succumb to the PCR test before they will be admitted to the hospital for care. This means all patients, including the vast majority who have no symptoms of any respiratory illness. People experiencing serious and dangerous symptoms indicating the urgent need for a procedure such as a heart catheterization for cardiac symptoms or colonoscopy for cancer symptoms, or any surgery, either inpatient or outpatient, are told they will not be allowed to receive care at their medical center and will be turned away (to die?!?) unless they get the PCR test first.

Hospital spokespeople say it is "hospital policy."

The latest global IFR (infection fatality rate) is only 0.15-0.20% across all ages, and only 0.03-0.04% among people under 70 years old, who get Covid-19 dies.

Even EMTs are being told that they can no longer admit cancer patients directly to the oncology ward in the event they need emergent admission, as has been routine for years. Instead, EMTs must take them to the ER to sit for hours to get PCR tested first.

(Ill cancer patients are also forced to wear a mask, making their nausea even harder to endure. I also watched a cancer patient with raw wounds on her face from cancer surgery be stopped at the hospital door and not allowed admission without putting on a mask. She had been told by her doctor not to cover the area with gauze or cloth or wear a mask because of the serious risks for infection heightened by her chemotherapy – but the hospital did not care. It was "hospital policy.")

This is evil. This is cruel. It is in clear violation of the Hippocratic Oath. Every patient has the right to refuse any medical test or procedure without be turned away to die. "Medical freedom is a basic human right," said Dr. Jane Orient, MD, executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.

There is no legitimate medical reason for these tyrannical measures and this heartless treatment of patients. This has to stop!

This virus is not the deadly black plague. Last September, even the CDC reported that "based on the latest surveillance data and scientific knowledge," the IFR (infection fatality rate) is so low, it translated to 99.99% of young people to 99.5% of older adults, and 94.6% of elderly over age 70, NOT dying. The latest global IFR reported by renowned Stanford epidemiologist, John Ioannidis, MD, is only 0.15-0.20% across all ages, and only 0.03-0.04% among people under 70 years old, who get Covid-19 dies.

Overall mortality in the U.S. from 1997-2007 from seasonal influenza, based on CDC data, has been a comparable 0.12%, with risks of dying from influenza among elderly 75+ years 141 times higher than young adults under 49. But we've never ever mandated everyone be tested for a flu virus, let alone deny anyone care, even seniors, because they may be at risk of, or have, a seasonal virus.

Government and legislative actions using the Covid-19 pandemic have enabled large healthcare industry hospitals to gain unbelievable profits.

There is no legitimate medical rationale to test asymptomatic patients for a virus before caring for them, especially one with such a low IFR. This has nothing to do with protecting health care workers or patients, or stopping the spread of this respiratory virus. Hospitals and medical professionals have never routinely tested for any seasonal virus, even during a pandemic, ever before in our history. That's because there is no need to. Why?

In modern medicine, medical professionals have always followed universal precautions in patient care to prevent the spread of infection. These standard professional practices assume every patient is infectious and are followed regardless of a patient's diagnosis, presumed infection status, or test status. Nowadays, professionally trained medical personnel also follow "standard precautions" to fight the spread of exposure. Invasive and surgical procedures will continue to follow these very same universal and standard precautions regardless of a PCR test result. So there must be another explanation for this unprecedented compulsory testing for a respiratory virus.

Have today's medical professionals forgotten all of their basic training and a century of modern medical science? Or, is it exactly as Dr. Abbasi described? They've become willing partners in a government agenda that will enrich their power and profit.

Profit Motive of PCR Tests

Government and legislative actions using the Covid-19 pandemic have enabled large healthcare industry hospitals to gain unbelievable profits. The government awarded an additional $39.36 billion to state health departments to support government actions surrounding Covid-19. The CARES Act awarded a $175 billion Provider Relief fund, which equated to a payment of $108,000 per hospital bed in the U.S., along with $100 billion to give hospitals 20% increased reimbursements for Covid-19 patients.

Labeling more patients "Covid-19" positive means more money. Texas hospitals, for example, treat 2,622,385 inpatients a year. At the height of the cold and flu season in January, Texas Department of State Health Services reported as many as 23.36% of hospitalized patients were PCR "positive" for Covid-19.

The PCR test enabled Texas hospitals to increase their revenue by 20% for nearly a quarter of their patients.

At just the Medicare reimbursement rates for performing Covid-19 tests, Texas' health care system has pocketed a mindboggling $1.15 billion so far.

Baylor Scott & White in Dallas, one of the largest hospital and healthcare systems in the country, reported its annual revenue had increased $1 billion in the past two years and its net profit in 2019 had increased to $725 million. This hospital system saw 12 million outpatients (with 50,000 outpatient surgeries) and had over 220,000 inpatient admissions. Using 2019 financials, even if it claimed 10% of its patients tested positive for Covid-19, the 20% additional revenue would generate roughly an additional $150 million in net profits.

Covenant Hospital's main hospital in Lubbock cares for 15,859 patients a year with a $3.6 billion annual revenue, according to American Hospital Database. Even if it claims only 20% more on just 1,586 inpatients, it would generate hundreds of thousands of dollars  in extra revenue just for this single hospital. These examples are repeated all over the country.

Covid-19 tests, themselves, mean big money. The CMS announced its Medicare reimbursement rates that it would pay hospitals and healthcare providers for each Covid-19 test performed. The government would pay $51.31 for each PCR test (CPT code 87635) and $42.13 for every antibody test (CPT 86769 and 86328) and $45.23 for antigen tests (CPT 87426).

Suddenly, Covid-19 testing locations popped up everywhere.

Covid-19 testing locations are listed by Texas Department of Emergency Management, as The Center Square reported. It shows 165 testing sites and one mobile unit in Austin, 267 sites and 7 mobile test units in Dallas; 321 sites and 5 mobile units in Houston; 206 in San Antonio; 28 in Amarillo; 83 sites and 9 mobile units in El Paso; 94 sites and 1 mobile unit in Fort Worth; and 61 testing sites and 4 mobile units within 10 miles of downtown Lubbock. All together, TDEM shows a total of 2,820 testing sites across Texas, not including the hospitals themselves.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded nearly $583 million in May 2020  for HRSA health centers to enable expanded Covid-19 testing. Seventy-two Texas health centers received $5.9 million from the Coronavirus Supplemental Funding for Health Centers for Covid-19 preparations and 71 health care centers got a one-time grant of $31.1 million as part of the Expanding Capacity for Coronavirus Testing for supplies and expenses to do Covid-19 testing.

Profiting off Covid-19 testing goes way beyond the hundreds of millions of dollars in federal money to get set up for testing. The big money comes from administering the tests themselves. According to the Covid Tracking Project, as of March 2nd, a total of 357,068,278 PCR tests have been done in the U.S. So, just at Medicare reimbursement rates, health care providers in the U.S. have made $18.2 billion performing Covid-19 PCR screening tests.

Covid Tracking Project reports that as of February 27, Texas, for example, has done a total of 22,951,927 Covid-19 tests (19,488,683 PCR; 2,451,395 antigen; and 1,011,849 antibody).

Hospitals have another vested interest in keeping Covid-19 pandemic fears alive: promote the vaccine. They get money to administer each Covid-19 vaccine... This is called "conflict of interest."

At just the Medicare reimbursement rates for performing Covid-19 tests, Texas' health care system has pocketed a mindboggling $1.15 billion so far.

But, in actuality, hospitals are charging considerably more for each test, billed to patients' insurance companies with the balance paid out-of-pocket by patients. Hospital Pricing Specialists, LLC surveyed the EZCOST data (billed charges) charged by 2,862 hospitals across the country and reported that most were charging many times the CMS rates. Texas was no different. For example:

  • Houston Physicians' Hospital in Webster had the highest charges at $912 per swab
  • Baylor Scott & White in Tyler was charging $700
  • Swisher Memorial Hospital in Tulia - $600
  • Abilene Regional Medical Center - $597
  • Riceland Medical Center in Winnie - $513
  • Altus Baytown Hospital - $500
  • Val Verde Regional Medical Center - $497.50
  • Christus Good Shepherd Medical Center in Marshall - $497
  • Advent Health Rollins Brook in Lampasas - $420
  • North Texas Medical Center in Gainesville - $400
  • MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston - $382
  • Covenant Medical Center in Lubbock - $347.75
  • University Medical Center in Lubbock - $276
  • Only 21 hospitals in Texas charged the Medicare rate or lower, with the lowest being Saint David's Medical Centers in Austin.

So how much might Covenant, for instance, be making just on Covid-19 testing? Covenant states it sees 62,000 patients in its ER. The number of Medicare outpatients alone treated in 2006 was reported as 27,639. The current outpatient census is clearly much higher today, with its surgical outpatient centers and new Grace surgical center. Only Covenant knows the real numbers. But, because they mandatorily PCR test every patient treated in the ER and every inpatient, and outpatient procedure, Covenant could be pocketing about $4.9 million performing Covid-19 tests just at Medicare reimbursement rates.

However, based on its actual billed charges for Covid-19 PCR tests, Covenant appears to be making considerably more – roughly $5.5 million so far just doing Covid-19 tests on patients prior to in-hospital admission or as much as $21.5 million on patients coming to the ER, and untold more on patients undergoing outpatient procedures.

Hospitals have another vested interest in keeping Covid-19 pandemic fears alive: promote the vaccine. They get money to administer each Covid-19 vaccine. CMS reimbursement rates for every Covid-19 vaccine is $28.39 for single dose and $45.33 for the two-dose vaccines.

According to Texas Health and Human Services, 5,678,873 vaccine doses have been given in Texas as of March 2nd (3,694,674 Texans have received one dose = $106.8 million; 1,984,199 Texans have also had the second dose = $89.95 million). To date, Texas healthcare system has been reimbursed about $197 million by CMS just to administer the vaccine.

This is called "conflict of interest."

There is an unfathomable amount of money being made on Covid-19. In medical ethics, this would discredit ANY claim a medical professional or hospital might make about the "need" to test for Covid-19 before treating or admitting patients, or the "need" for a vaccine.

Once upon a time, medical and nursing professionals would never have considered refusing to care for a patient who didn't want to get tested for a cold or flu virus, or force a patient to undergo an invalid test under threat of being left to die.

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That would violate all Christian-based medical ethics.

But like hospitals across the country following these draconian Covid-19 testing policies, these Texas hospitals advertise their "Christian ministry of healing" and 100 year covenant through the ministry of Jesus in serving patients. They publicize patient rights to sovereignty and self determination.

All of that has been abandoned. The lure of $billions appears to have taken priority over medical ethics and doing the right thing.

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Sandy Szwarc, BSN, is a graduate of UT-Austin, and a researcher and writer on health and science issues for more than 30 years.

* Watch for the upcoming article, RT-PCR Covid-19 Tests – Cliff Notes Version.

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Last modified on Wednesday, March 10, 2021