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AMA president: Pres. Trump's claim that doctors overcount COVID-19 patients for more money is 'malicious, outrageous'

Dr. Susan R. Bailey, who is also a doctor in Fort Worth, hit back following ongoing attacks on doctors treating COVID-19 patients.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The president of the American Medical Association, who is also a doctor in Fort Worth, called Pres. Donald Trump's claim that doctors make more money when a patient is diagnosed with COVID-19 "malicious."

Trump made the claim at a campaign rally Friday in Wisconsin.

"Our doctors get more money if someone dies from COVID. You know that, right?" Trump asserted in front of a crowd in Waterford Township, Michigan, according to Bloomberg. He claimed doctors are paid "like $2,000 more" for deaths from the coronavirus.

The suggestion that doctors in the middle of a public health crisis are "overcounting COVID-19 patients or lying to line their pockets is a malicious, outrageous and completely misguided charge," said Dr. Susan R. Bailey in a statement.

Bailey said leaders should be following the science and urging people to abide by health guidance, like wearing face masks, social distancing and hand washing, rather than attacking doctors and "lobbing baseless charges at physicians."

"Throughout this pandemic, physicians, nurses, and frontline health care workers have risked their health, their safety and their lives to treat their patients and defeat a deadly virus," Bailey said. "They did it because duty called and because of the sacred oath they took."

It's not the first time the association, which represents more than 190 state and specialty medical societies and other stakeholders, responded to negative rhetoric and misinformation against doctors during the pandemic.

On Oct. 25, the association tweeted "let's be clear, physicians are not inflating the number of COVID-19 patients" along with a statement.

"Physicians and patients are all making remarkable sacrifices and we continue urging all to wear a mask, physical distance and wash your hands to reduce suffering, illness and death," the statement said.

Bailey wrote another post on Oct. 27 called "the assault on physicians and science must end."

"During this COVID-19 pandemic, physicians are unfortunately fighting a two-front war," she wrote. "Already facing one of the greatest threats to public health in generations, we have been pulled into a public battle we did not want over the very legitimacy of our work and our motivation."

"At every turn, at the highest levels of government, our motives and efforts are undermined, questioned and discredited in a misguided attempt to downplay the seriousness of the pandemic we continue to fight."