Minnesota State Sen. Scott Jensen (R-Carver County), a doctor who was awarded the Family Physician of the Year Award in 2016, now faces an investigation for alleged “misinformation” and “recklessness” in his public statements about the coronavirus pandemic. The Minnesota Board of Medical Practice is investigating him for warning that coronavirus deaths may be inflated due to financial incentives to put “COVID-19” on death certificates and for comparing COVID-19 to the common flu.
“Less than a week ago, I was notified by the Board of Medical Practice in Minnesota that I was being investigated because of public statements I’ve made,” Jensen announced in a video posted Sunday. He said the complaints are anonymous, so he will not be able to face his accuser.
Even so, Jensen announced, “I’m going to be cooperating with them.”
He firmly defended his previous statements, however.
In early April, Jensen warned that hospitals get paid more if Medicare patients are listed as having COVID-19 and that they receive three times as much money if Medicare patients need a ventilator. He spoke with Fox News host Laura Ingraham about this perverse incentive on April 8.
Later that month, he explained his position further. “Hospital administrators might well want to see COVID-19 attached to a discharge summary or a death certificate. Why? Because if it’s a straightforward, garden-variety pneumonia that a person is admitted to the hospital for – if they’re Medicare – typically, the diagnosis-related group lump sum payment would be $5,000,” Jensen wrote on Facebook. “But if it’s COVID-19 pneumonia, then it’s $13,000, and if that COVID-19 pneumonia patient ends up on a ventilator, it goes up to $39,000.”
On April 21, FactCheck.org concluded, “The figures cited by Jensen generally square with estimated Medicare payments for COVID-19 hospitalizations, based on average Medicare payments for patients with similar diagnoses.”
Later that month, New York funeral directors told Project Veritas that they had seen “COVID-19” marked as a cause of death on death certificates even when the patient had not tested positive for coronavirus. The funeral directors said there was a financial incentive to twist the facts. When The New York Times named 1,000 coronavirus victims on its front page in May, it included a man whose death police are investigating as a homicide.
In May, Gov. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) criticized the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for inflating the number of coronavirus deaths. “The CDC criteria include anybody who has died with COVID-19, but what the people of Colorado and the people of the country want to know is how many people died of COVID-19,” he told Fox News’s Chris Wallace. Colorado’s Health Department revised its official coronavirus death count down from 1,150 to 878, a stunning 23.7 percent reduction.
In his video, Dr. Jensen claims, “I’ve got the Department of Health in Illinois where one of the directors says, ‘Just because we put COVID-19 on the death certificate as the cause of death, that doesn’t mean the patient died of COVID-19.'”
As for the claim that Jensen engaged in “recklessness” by comparing COVID-19 to the common flu, the doctor and state senator quoted Dr. Anthony Fauci in an editorial published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“If one assumes that the number of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic cases [for COVID-19] is several times as high as the number of reported cases, the case fatality rate may be considerably less than 1%. This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of COVID-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%),” Fauci wrote.
Jensen also cited Dr. Michael Osterholm, a well-regarded epidemiologist, who said COVID-19 was “acting very much like influenza” in March.
“Do I feel targeted? Yeah, I do. Do I know who my accusers are? I don’t get to know,” Jensen said.
“If I have been spreading misinformation, then what about Gov. [Tim] Walz and the Department of Health?” the doctor and state senator charged. He noted an early memo on the coronavirus which stated that “wearing masks is not effective.”
Jensen also noted that the vast majority of Minnesota’s coronavirus deaths have resulted from cases contracted at nursing homes after Walz allowed the transfer of patients recovering from COVID-19 from hospitals to nursing homes.
“Physicians and scientists of the past are supposed to be above the fray,” Jensen remarked. “I’ve been a physician in the trenches for 35 years.”
This investigation into Jensen appears politically motivated. It seems anonymous complainants are trying to get this doctor canceled for coronavirus wrongthink.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.
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