Hospitals to Send COVID-19 Data to HHS Database, Not CDC

Cheryl Sanders
July 16, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will "no longer control" the coronavirus data collection system from hospitals across the nation, a spokesman for U.S. Health and Human Services confirmed Tuesday night.

University of DE epidemiologist Jennifer Horney - one of the leading voices on the COVID-19 pandemic - said her main concerns are the perception that data may be manipulated to achieve political goals and the timing of the introduction of a new system in the midst of a pandemic.

The New York Times reported earlier Tuesday that the Trump administration has ordered hospitals to bypass the CDC and send all COVID-19 patient information to a central database in Washington starting Wednesday, raising concerns from health experts that it will be politicized or withheld from the public.

Dr. Birx, after saying that the hospitals were not adequately reporting their data, assembled a working group of government and hospital officials who formulated the new plan, according to Dr. Janis Orlowski, the chief health care officer of the Association of American Medical Colleges, who was also part of the group meeting.

"We are comfortable with that as long as they continue to work with us, as long as they continue to make the information public, and as long as we're able to continue to advise them and look at the data", she told the publication.

Hospitals should directly report detailed information daily to the new centralized system, managed by TeleTracking, a health data firm with headquarters in Pittsburgh.

The Epoch Times has reached out to the CDC about its coordination with the HHS on the matter and about how it'll get the data it needs for its daily operations but is yet to hear back.

"This data will be used to inform decisions at the federal level, such as allocation of supplies, treatments, and other resources", said the HHS.

The CDC's National Healthcare Safety Network system was launched 15 years ago and is perhaps best known for its work gathering, and publicly reporting, data on hospital infections. He also said the change will enable it to focus on collecting other data, like information from nursing homes.

The CDC director said Wednesday that he's fine with the change - even though some experts fear it will further sideline the agency.

"Therefore, hospitals may be relieved from reporting directly to the Federal Government if they receive a written release from the State stating that the State will collect the data from the hospitals and take over Federal reporting responsibilities", said the HHS.

In April, the government awarded a 10.2 million USA dollars contract to a TeleTracking Technologies, based in Pittsburgh. None of its previous contracts paid more than $300,000.

The company has also gotten approval to tap a government loans program created to help small business keep employees on their payroll during the pandemic.

TeleTracking did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Trump has repeatedly expressed displeasure with the country's rate of testing, claiming that if we didn't test so much, our number of reported cases wouldn't be so high. One of his companies, Michael G. Zamagias Interests LTD, was approved for a Payroll Protection Program loan for between $150,000 and $350,000.

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