Hospitals to report COVID-19 test data daily to the federal government

April 1, 2020

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) sent a letter to the nation’s hospitals, detailing how they should report data on tests they are performing to detect COVID-19, the agency said in a press release. The letter was sent on behalf of Vice President Mike Pence.

Specifically, the federal government wants hospitals to report daily data on COVID-19 test results conducted at in-house labs to both the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Healthcare Safety Network. CMS said the data should not include personal identifying information to protect patients’ privacy.

“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.

CMS said the White House Coronavirus Task Force is already collecting data from public health labs and private laboratory companies, it but does not have data from hospital labs that conduct testing in-house. CMS said the data from hospital labs will help the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the CDC “in their efforts to support states and localities in addressing and responding to the virus.”

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