Governors urge Trump to delay changes to hospital COVID-19 reporting

The National Governors Association (NGA) on Thursday called on the Trump administration to postpone planned alterations to hospital reporting requirements for 30 days.

“The administration has stated that they plan to utilize this data to better allocate supplies and drugs to states,” the NGA said in a statement.

“To ensure the accurate reporting of this data, governors are requesting a 30-day delay of these new requirements, in order for hospitals to learn a new system, as they continue to deal with this pandemic. In addition, governors urge the administration to make this information publicly available,” the NGA added.

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Earlier this week, the Trump administration changed its reporting rules for hospitals, instructing them to send data on hospital bed and intensive care unit availability directly to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), rather than to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as before.

Public health experts raised concerns with the change, although the administration argued that while the HHS database is not public, it will make patient data compilation more efficient.

HHS Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs Michael Caputo said the CDC was directed to make the data available again after it disappeared from the CDC’s website.

“HHS is committed to being transparent with the American public about the information it is collecting on the coronavirus,” he told The Hill in a statement Thursday. “Therefore, HHS directed CDC to re-establish the coronavirus dashboards it withdrew from the public on Wednesday."

The website dashboard, however, only includes data up to July 14, and a notice on the website states that it will not be updated.

CDC Director Robert Redfield also downplayed the change, saying the agency will have the same amount of access to hospital data and that "no one is taking access or data away from CDC.”