The new online system used by Health and Human Services for hospitals to report coronavirus data is filled with bugs and delays, creating inaccurate information about available hospital beds, ventilators and other important medical resources to treat the virus.
Data analysts told NPR that the company HHS uses to collect data, called Teletracking, can’t properly receive information from medical facilities. This lag in reporting has led to uncertainty about available hospital beds and medical equipment.
In fact, the HHS reported its most recent hospital capacity data on July 23, which has left more than a week of lingering uncertainty about the changes in data.
“If the information is not accurate, it could cost time — and lives,” Lisa Lee, a former chief science officer for public health surveillance at the CDC, told NPR, The Hill reported.
Coronavirus information was previously sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In mid-July, the White House switched gears and directed hospitals to report coronavirus data to HHS.
During a hearing on Friday, CDC Director Robert Redfield told the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Response that his agency was not “directly involved in the final decision” for the HHS to receive coronavirus data.
He continued by saying the “CDC then and now continues to have access to all data, does all the data analytics, so there’s no restriction of any of the data.”
Redfield said the Trump administration decided to pass off coronavirus data analysis to HHS so the agency could give the White House real-time hospitalization information. That data could then provide faster deliveries of remdesivir, a drug effective in treating coronavirus, to hospitals and medical facilities.
HHS took over coronavirus reporting because the CDC’s system was too slow, according to officials. HHS Secretary Alex Azar said the CDC system only reported data from half of the hospital networks throughout the country.
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