White House asks all hospitals to report data on COVID-19 testing

In what it's calling an "unprecedented" exercise in information sharing, the administration is calling on health systems to share daily updates from their in-house labs with federal agencies.
By Mike Miliard
12:34 PM

The White House Coronavirus Task Force and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are asking all U.S. hospitals to report critical data about their COVID-19 response.

WHY IT MATTERS

As part of what it calls an "unprecedented" expansion of data sharing, the Trump Administration is requesting that providers submit data about their COVID-19 test results.

In a letter sent to hospitals and health systems on March 29, Vice President Mike Pence called on them to furnish daily updates on COVID-19 testing completed at in-house laboratories.

For those who outsource testing to private labs and commercial labs – LabCorp, BioReference Laboratories, Quest Diagnostics, Mayo Clinic Laboratories and ARUP Laboratories – such reporting is not required.

But for those hospitals that do their own tests, the White House is asking for a spreadsheet with new testing numbers – due every day at 5 p.m. ET – to be submitted to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

More details from the letter can be found here.

This request is in addition to the ongoing daily reporting of bed capacity and supply numbers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Healthcare Safety Network.

CMS is helping coordinate de-identified data from the CDC's COVID-19 Patient Impact and Hospital Capacity Module to assess supply and bed capacity needs and improve COVID-19 surveillance efforts.

THE LARGER TREND

Thousands of COVID-19 tests are being conducted at academic, university and hospital labs each day. The White House Coronavirus Task Force already collects data from public health labs and private laboratory companies, but does not have data from hospital labs that do in-house testing.

By sharing this information, hospitals can help federal and state governments mitigate the effects of COVID-19 and direct needed resources from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, officials said.

Such data will help support the FEMA and CDC as they work to ramp up support to states and localities during the coronavirus crisis.

ON THE RECORD

"The nation's nearly 4,700 hospitals have access to testing data that's updated daily. This data will help us better support hospitals to address their supply and capacity needs, as well as strengthen our surveillance efforts across the country," said CMS Administrator Seema Verma in a statement. "America's hospitals are demonstrating incredible resilience in this unprecedented situation and we look forward to partnering further with them going forward."

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: mike.miliard@himssmedia.com

Healthcare IT News is a publication of HIMSS Media

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