Doctors Can Place COVID-19 on Death Certificates Without Confirmed Test Results, Minnesota Senator Says

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State Sen. Scott Jensen (R-Chaska), a practicing physician, sounded the alarm Tuesday about a CDC guidance that gives doctors the authority to include “suspected or likely” cases of COVID-19 on death certificates.

Jensen said the document, which was sent to him by the Minnesota Department of Health, suggests that he could include a diagnosis of COVID-19 on death certificates even if there were no official lab results confirming the diagnosis.

Jensen made the shocking claim during an interview on Point of View with Chris Berg.

“As a physician, I received an email last week from the Department of Health coaching me on how to fill out death certificates and I’ve never really received coaching from the vital statistics agency in terms of how to do a death certificate. Basically, I felt like they were saying, ‘You know, you don’t have to have a confirmed laboratory test for COVID-19 in order to make the death certificate be COVID-19,’” he said.

 

Jensen said the guideline implies that it “would be appropriate to diagnosis on the death certificate COVID-19” if a deceased patient had contact with someone who had the virus but never actually tested positive themselves.

“Now we’ve not done that. If someone has pneumonia and it’s in the middle of the flu epidemic, and I don’t have a test on influenza, I don’t diagnose influenza on the death certificate,” said Jensen.

He called the guidance “concerning” and said doctors never place “probabilities” or “presumptions” on death certificates, but “just the facts.”

“Fear is a great way to control people and I worry about that. We’re so darn interested in jazzing up the fear factor that sometimes people’s ability to think for themselves is paralyzed if their frightened enough. That’s not where I want people to be,” he continued.

The document itself was put out by the CDC’s National Vital Statistics System as a “guidance for certifying deaths due to COVID-19.”

“In cases where a definite diagnosis of COVID–19 cannot be made, but it is suspected or likely (e.g., the circumstances are compelling within a reasonable degree of certainty), it is acceptable to report COVID–19 on a death certificate as ‘probable’ or ‘presumed.’ In these instances, certifiers should use their best clinical judgment in determining if a COVID–19 infection was likely,” the guidance states. “However, please note that testing for COVID–19 should be conducted whenever possible.”

The Minnesota Department of Health’s Office of Vital Records, which maintains birth and death records for the state of Minnesota, now links to the CDC guidance on a webpage for “medical certifiers.”

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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun and The Ohio Star. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].

 

 

 

 

 

 

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10 Thoughts to “Doctors Can Place COVID-19 on Death Certificates Without Confirmed Test Results, Minnesota Senator Says”

  1. Betty Lynn Duley

    Martha Brown, Doctors and Coroners are trained. They should record on Death Certificates what they have observed and what lab tests and imaging has revealed. They should not be guided or in any way directed by government or bureaucrats regarding cause of death. Death certificates have for many years recorded language such as “*****” secondary to *****.” What you are promoting renders any data generated from death certificates invalid and renders skewed determinations that have no value in scientific study. Why would anyone want to do that?

  2. […] Doctors Can Place COVID-19 on Death Certificates Without Confirmed Test Results, Minnesota Senator S… […]

  3. John

    All about the liberal control of the population through fear and need.

    1. T. Davis

      There were 5 people who I knew had Covid19 when TN was reporting nothing for my county. People are sick right now on my road who have been turned from testing or who are afraid to get tested. My daughter was so sick she said she felt like she was dying, a week before 3/7 so end of February. She just stopped coughing finally a couple of days ago. We took her to her pediatrician 3 days after her initial symptoms. They would NOT test her. They took one look at her and said, “You don’t have it”. It felt like nothing she ever had before. I think she had it then. Since that week, four of her friends have had it crushing chest pain, cough, and low grade fever. Don’t worry about this being over reported. It’s underreported in my small county. Probably every county. That’s not liberal or conservative, that’s a human issue we got here. TV Talking heads peddling hate and suspicion about liberal socialist demons and spineless, boot licking sapsucking republicans? That’s about as useless as tits on a boar out here friend. Good for a slow conversation in the Walmart parking lot, but usually we just ask after the latest cattle prices, or how the family is faring.

      1. T.Davis,. So you can justify fear-mongering and over reporting, just because you have members of your family that are sick… that’s astonishing. But you wouldn’t share in the agenda any?…

  4. Martha Brown

    I am a Registered Health Information Administrator and Certified Coding Specialist (RHIA, CCS {Retired}) and used to work in the Kentucky Vital Statistics office. There is NOTHING in these instructions that is DIFFERENT from the instructions from the National Center for Health and Vital Statistics that has not been in use for decades, including the reporting of possible or probable. Back during the Swine flu epidemic I helped a physician complete a death certificate. It was a visiting relative of a patient and the physician actually thought the Swine flu vaccination was the cause of death. The family was insisting that he include Black Lung on the death certificate (they wanted benefits). He didn’t want to alienate his actual patients. I told him he could list as another condition of the patient “Black Lung, by history.” That way it was clear he had no actually been the clinician who diagnosed the Black Lung and he satisfied his actual patients. The fact the physician in your had never been instructed before is because physicians train physicians to document and most of them do not know documentation requirements. Yes, new codes have been created to identify the COVID-19 virus. Just as new codes were created for HIV back in the 80’s and external cause codes for terrorism and more recently for scooter accidents and deaths. That is also a part of the normal process that has existed for decades. That being said, Dr Brix is using the underlying cause of death to liberally count the causes. That is the issue, not new codes or official guidelines. You might want to talk to someone who has professional training in these subjects before you write about them.

    1. Larry Bruce

      Martha the difference is that the country wasn’t shut down for that! If you are going to shut this country down endanger the livelihood of so many people you have to be absolutely accurate!

    2. Dave

      Yeah, this illustrates the problem with secondary sources, such as this doctor.

      That document is, as far as I can see, the primary source, and clearly states:

      “In cases where a definite diagnosis of COVID–19 cannot
      be made, but it is suspected or likely (e.g., the circumstances
      are compelling within a reasonable degree of certainty), it
      is acceptable to report COVID–19 on a death certificate as
      “probable” or “presumed.” In these instances, certifiers should
      use their best clinical judgement in determining if a COVID–19
      infection was likely. However, please note that testing for
      COVID–19 should be conducted whenever possible. ”

      They’re instructed to use their best clinical judgement. That’s opposite of what the doctor says.

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