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More on the new reporting system for hospitals with COVID-19: it’s being returned to the CDC from HHS

picture by mohamed hassan courtesy of

The New York Times (NYT) had this article on the new reporting system for hospitals on August 12, describing a letter from members of the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Board that criticized the new system.

Just today, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that the reporting system is being returned to the CDC from HHS. (Behind a paywall…) This was an exclusive report but I picked it up on my iphone’s news feed. So here’s my quotes from the article, in a shameless bout of plagiarism: Apparently, the “federal government has reversed course” and is “returning the responsibility for data collection to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (CDC)”

“Deborah Birx, the White House’s (WH) coronavirus coordinator, told hospital executives and government officials in Arkansas this week that the current system under which hospitals report new cases is “solely an interim system” and that the reporting would soon go back to the CDC.

“CDC is working with us right now to build a revolutionary new data system so it can be moved back to the CDC, and they can have that regular accountability with hospitals relevant to treatment and PPE,” Dr. Birx said, referring to personal protective equipment (PPE) used by doctors and nurses.”

“The reversal comes after increasing reports that the new system has been plagued by delays and inconsistencies in data since being implemented in July. Among other things, certain key statistics, such as inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, were updated only once a week, rather than daily or multiple times a week, as under the CDC system.”

“The CDC is collaborating with the US Digital Service, a small agency set up during the Obama administration [!!] to help improve, the website that administered the market for insurance plans as part of the Affordable Care Act, to “build a modernized automation process” for hospital data, said an HHS official in an emailed statement.”

“The HHS instructed hospitals last month to no longer report numbers on new cases, hospital capacity, inventories of key supplies and other data through the CDC’s National Health Safety Network. Instead, the facilities were directed to report daily numbers through the HHS Protect system using software provided by TeleTracking Technologies Inc., a hospital IT specialist that won a roughly $10 million contract with the HHS this year.”

“At the time, Michael Caputo, the HHS’s deputy secretary for public affairs, defended the decision, saying that the CDC’s data gathering system was inadequate…”

“…Twenty-two state attorneys general sent a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar demanding that the agency reverse the decision… A Congressional subcommittee said it was investigating whether the switch was politically motivated…”

“… Jose Arrieta, the HHS’s data chief, resigned abruptly last Friday, saying in a statement that he wanted to spend more time with his children…”

“… Also Friday, two top CDC officials who were appointed by the [redacted] administration resigned. Kyle McGowan, chief of staff, and Amanda Campbell, deputy chief of staff, left the CDC to start a consulting firm…”

‘I’m shocked, shocked I tell you, to learn that there’s gambling going on in here.’ (from “Casablanca”, as stated by the French chief of police after being instructed to shut down Rick’s saloon.)

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