"Senate and House Democrats sent letters to the White House on Friday, asking the Trump administration to reverse its decision to sidestep the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in collecting critical COVID-19 hospital data.
Since the start of the pandemic, hospitals in the U.S. have been providing daily data on the number of COVID-19 patients admitted and the availability of hospital beds, ventilators and personal protective equipment. This week, the administration told hospitals to stop reporting this data directly to the CDC. Now, they must report the information to their state health departments, or use a newer portal, set up by a private contractor called TeleTracking. The portal bypasses the CDC and provides the data directly to the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the agency.
Public health experts voiced worries that the move sidelines the CDC and hampers the agency's ability to provide critical, day-by-day information on hospital resources to states in the midst of a pandemic. The new guidance also ties the usage of the newer portal with access to the federal supply of remdesevir, one of the few drugs proven to work against COVID-19. Many hospitals were notified on Monday of the change, which went into effect Wednesday and they scrambled to comply.
Senate Democrats sent a letter Friday to Vice President Pence and Dr. Deborah Birx, who run the White House coronavirus task force, urging them to "withdraw your confusing and harmful changes to hospital reporting requirements" for COVID-19."