A wide range of physician groups -- including the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) -- are criticizing statements made by President Donald Trump recently that physicians are inflating the number of deaths from COVID-19 for financial gain.
In a speech at Waukesha, WI, on October 24, Trump repeated a widely circulated conspiracy theory that doctors and hospitals "get more money" if they report that patients died of COVID-19 rather than from some other condition. Trump claimed that U.S. physicians are more prone than doctors in other countries to reporting that patients died of COVID-19 than other comorbid conditions. He claimed this reporting was a reason why the U.S. has more deaths from the novel coronavirus than other nations.
The comments prompted immediate pushback from physician groups outraged by the statement, including the American Medication Association, the American College of Emergency Physicians, and the American College of Physicians.
In its own statement, the SNMMI said it was joining with other medical societies in condemning the claims and was supporting a statement by the Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS) in criticizing Trump's comments.
"This implication is a direct affront to the professionalism and ethics of physicians and other health professionals who serve at the frontline of this pandemic at great risk to themselves and their families, often without adequate personal protective equipment," the CMSS statement read. "Many physicians have taken pay cuts to ensure that struggling medical practices and healthcare facilities remain open for their patients."
What's more, such "baseless claims" do a disservice to medical professionals and hinder the country's effort to get the COVID-19 pandemic under control, the CMSS statement read.