Monday, December 12, 2022

Billions in Covid Aid Went to Hospitals That Didn’t Need It; At Least $20 Million in COVID Relief Funds Fell Into the Hands of China-Linked Groups, and other C-Virus related stories

Lauren Petracca for The Wall Street Journal
WSJ: Billions in Covid Aid Went to Hospitals That Didn’t Need It:
When Covid-19 struck, the U.S. government gave hospitals tens of billions of dollars to help them cope with the strains of the pandemic.
Many of the hospitals didn’t need it.
The aid enriched some well-off systems, while failing to meet the needs of many that were struggling, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of federal financial-disclosure reports.
The mismatch stemmed in part from the way the federal government determined how much a hospital should get. A main factor used to allocate relief was a hospital’s revenue, rather than Covid caseload or financial distress. The idea was that revenue was a good indicator of a hospital’s size.
Among the recipients were large, wealthy hospital owners—including some nonprofits—that reported profits from patient care during the periods they got aid. Some were well off enough to put money into investment funds, while others spent on new facilities and expanded campuses.
Hundreds of other hospitals that got federal funding, however, reported losses. Some were forced to lay off nurses and make other cuts, saying they didn’t get enough aid to overcome their strains. Some served areas that had among the highest Covid death rates.
The revenue-based award system, especially prevalent in the early days of the pandemic, tended to favor hospitals with higher prices. --->READ MORE HERE
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At Least $20 Million in COVID Relief Funds Fell Into the Hands of China-Linked Groups:
Foreign hackers linked to the Chinese government allegedly stole at least $20 million in COVID-19 relief funds, according to the U.S. Secret Service.
The China-linked hackers, known as APT41, are “a notable player” among the 1,000-plus investigations into criminals defrauding public benefits programs, according to an NBC News report confirmed by the Secret Service to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
It is unknown whether the Chinese government directed APT41 to steal taxpayer funds or simply looked the other way, but the threat is “dangerous” and has serious national security implications, an anonymous senior Department of Justice (DOJ) official told NBC News.
“I’ve never seen them target government money before,” John Hultquist, head of intelligence analysis at the cybersecurity firm Mandiant, told NBC News. “That would be an escalation.”
The discovery of the hackers could be just the beginning, as unnamed officials and experts think it is likely that the hackers targeted all 50 states, according to NBC News. --->READ MORE HERE
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