Pence Asks Hospitals to Share Coronavirus Surveillance Data with Feds

By John Commins

Vice President Mike Pence has asked the nation’s hospitals to provide federal monitors with a daily report on “in-house” coronavirus testing results, other pandemic surveillance data, and bed capacity.

“The data will help us better understand disease patterns and develop policies for prevention and control of health problems related to COVID-19,” said Pence, who is leading the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

Specifically, the task force wants hospitals to report COVID-19 testing data to the Department of Health and Human Services, and provide daily reports on bed capacity and supplies to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Healthcare Safety Network COVID-19 Patient Impact and Hospital Capacity Module.

The data request will not include information that could identify patients.

The task force is already collecting data from public and private health labs, but not from in-house hospital labs.

“The nation’s nearly 4,700 hospitals have access to testing data that’s updated daily,” Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma said. “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.

Ashley Thompson, the American Hospital Association’s vice president for public policy, said the hospitals already are “being asked to submit data to many entities, including local and state authorities being.”

“We have urged that the federal government streamline these efforts to ensure hospitals can remain focused on patient care,” she said.

“During this unique period in which we are dealing with a national emergency, we will urge our members to report the data needed by the federal government to support epidemiological surveillance and public health decision making as this effort evolves,” she said.

John Commins is a content specialist and online news editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.