HHS Bypasses CDC in COVID-19 Data Collection, Sparking Concerns

On July 10, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released new guidance that instructed hospitals to bypass the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in reporting COVID-19 data and instead send the information directly to the Department through a relatively new system called HHS Protect. The change has raised concerns among many public health and science stakeholder groups that it could signal an effort to sideline the CDC in responding to the pandemic and to limit the data available to the public.

Prior to the change, hospitals submitted COVID-19 information to the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN), which released data on hospital capacity and staffing, but is now no longer being updated. While some reporting indicates that HHS officials intend to make data collected by the new system publicly available at some point, no concrete plans to do so have been announced.

COSSA joined nearly 100 stakeholder organization in a letter to the Coronavirus Task Force calling for the Administration to reverse this decision and commit to ensuring that COVID-19 data remains publicly available.

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Posted in Issue 15 (July 21), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

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