There are some major discrepancies in the last two New Brunswick (Acute Care) Facility Profile reports issued by the New Brunswick Department of Health in which average bed
occupancy rates are reported.
This started out with the intent of being a very different article than it has turned out to be. With the addition of the daily hospital bed occupancy rate being made front and centre on New Brunswick's COVID-19 dashboard, which has been running somewhere between 86% and 88%, this article was primarily going to show that we're doing great! The average occupancy rate in New Brunswick hospitals runs 95% to 105% on any given year.
2014-2015 105.2% 2017-2018 95.5%
2015-2016 95.0% 2018-2019 96.3%
2016-2017 96.0% 2019-2020 ?? (explanation below)
This article's primary purpose was to ask why we are in lockdown, schools closed and certain businesses and services shuttered, all in the name of protecting a healthcare system of which the current average bed occupancy rate is actually much lower than the previous 5 years? That's still a valid question and one that many people should be reaching out to their elected officials and asking.
Are you tired of being lied to yet?
While researching the data for the above, as we tin-foil hatters tend to do, I found two Acute Care Facility Profile Reports on the Government of New Brunswick website. The first is for the fiscal year 2018-2019 and the second is for the fiscal year 2019-2020. This is where I originally saw the average annual hospital bed occupancy rates and the idea for the article was born.
Each report has a 5-year trend for each hospital in the province detailing hospital operational data including the rate in question. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the historical data for some hospitals had been altered from one report to the other, only for bed occupancy rates, all other data remained intact, and only for 4 hospitals. From one report to the other, the number of beds available and the number of beds occupied was changed. This is why the % isn't calculated above, because I don't know which number I should show you; the altered number or the actual number.
Why is this a problem? Historical data is historical data. These aren't typos either, each hospital is changed with a definite pattern. For example, the Saint John Regional had 80 beds removed for all previous years where the Dr. Everett Chalmers had 40 beds removed each year. It would be understandable to see some beds removed for the current year if that's what actually happened, but it's impossible to go back in time and change what actually took place in previous years. If they do have that superpower, could someone please go back to the start of 2020 so we can do it differently?
The boring details.
Yes, I'm going to put all the boring details right here. First and foremost to silence the nay-sayers. Here is just one example.
Saint John Regional Hospital
Facility Report 2018-2019 Facility Report 2019-2020
2014-2015 Available Beds = 566 Available Beds = not in report time frame
Ave Beds Used = 517 Ave Beds Used = not in report time frame
Occupancy Rate = 91.4% Occupancy Rate = not in report time frame
2015-2016 Available Beds = 568 Available Beds = 487
Ave Beds Used = 503 Ave Beds Used = 447
Occupancy Rate = 88.6% Occupancy Rate = 91.7%
2016-2017 Available Beds = 566 Available Beds = 485
Ave Beds Used = 510 Ave Beds Used = 447
Occupancy Rate = 90.1% Occupancy Rate = 92.2%
2017-2018 Available Beds = 569 Available Beds = 489
Ave Beds Used = 514 Ave Beds Used = 454
Occupancy Rate = 90.3% Occupancy Rate = 92.2%
2018-2019 Available Beds = 566 Available Beds = 486
Ave Beds Used = 506 Ave Beds Used = 447
Occupancy Rate = 89.4% Occupancy Rate = 92.0%
2019-2020 Available Beds = not in Available Beds = 486
Ave Beds Used = report Ave Beds Used = 443
Occupancy Rate = time frm Occupancy Rate = 91.1%
As you can see, from one report to the other, the historical data was altered to remove an average of 80 available beds per year and an average of 60 patients per year. If the correct number of beds had been used, the occupancy rate for 2019-2020 would have been 78.1% which is a decrease of 13%, during a pandemic.
The 4 hospitals of which the data was altered are:
Saint John Regional Reported average = 91.1% Actual = 78.1%
Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Reported average = 99.9% Actual = 88.3%
Dr. Georges Dumont Reported average = 100.3% Actual = 85.8%
Campbellton Hospital Reported average = 102.0% Actual = 85.9%
What do these hospitals have in common?
After reviewing the data from the 21 hospitals in each report, the questions became; why only 4 hospitals and why these 4 hospitals? What do they have in common that they would be the only ones altered?
For the fiscal year 2019-2020, the first year of the pandemic, these 4 hospitals each experienced a 10% or more DECREASE in the average occupancy rate or the previous 5 years. Grand-Manan did too, but that hospital's average bed use is in the single digits, so its data wasn't altered.
Questions need to be answered.
There could be a perfectly good reason why the historical data on the latest report was altered, but it escapes me. If the Department of Health would like to provide an explanation we're happy to hear it.
The only reason I can think of to alter this data, is that the falsely higher rates were used to justify lockdowns, school closures, isolating people from family and friends, denying them the right to attend a loved one's funeral. To force certain businesses to reduce capacity, at times close altogether and ultimately to discriminate against clients who didn't have a segregation pass.
We'd like to hear the Department of Health's explanation and this issue requires a thorough outside investigation.
Business owners, how does that make you feel? To the general public, how does that make you feel? Do you trust the data they're using now to justify level 3 (or level 2 or level 1) lockdowns and restrictions?
The top questions to ask.
In my opinion, these are the important questions that need to be answered by the Department of Health and Minister Shephard:
Who ordered the data to be altered?
Who knew it was altered and when?
Which COVID mitigation strategies, policies and mandates were crafted based on this altered data?
Who was this altered data distributed to besides the public website?
New Brunswick businesses, do ask these questions.
Please do ask these questions. You should demand to know what data has been used to create the policies that have caused your reduced income and closures. Again, maybe they have a legitimate reason, but historical data doesn't change so they need to give you that reason, if it exists.
Don't expect legacy media to do it for you. They don't have any appetite to ask hard questions such as asking why each time the COVID-19 dashboard reveals the cases, hospitalizations and ICU admissions are trending more to the vaccinated population, the Department of Health changes the format trying to hide the data. This occurred on November 15, 2021 and again on January 20, 2022.
Data that truly shows we are in a state of emergency doesn't need to be manipulated in order to prove it, and it certainly doesn't need to be falsified.
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