Clyburn, Maloney, Krishnamoorthi Demand Information on Decision to Divert Coronavirus Data From CDC
Washington, D.C. (July 18, 2020) — Yesterday, Rep. James E. Clyburn, Chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis; Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform; and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield calling on the Trump Administration to reverse the decision to divert coronavirus data away from the CDC and instead report it to a private contractor.
“We urge you to reverse this decision, restore this data collection role to the CDC, and take all necessary steps to ensure that essential data is collected and publicly reported free from political interference,” the Chairs wrote. “We are concerned that this decision may represent yet another example of the Administration’s continuing politicization of public health during the coronavirus pandemic.”
For more than a decade, hospitals have used the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) to report data on infectious disease hospitalizations to the CDC. On July 10, 2020, HHS directed hospitals to stop reporting coronavirus hospitalization data to the NHSN site effective July 15. Instead, hospitals were directed to begin reporting data through TeleTracking Technologies, a private company that entered into a sole-source $10 million contract with the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in April 2020.
“This database does not appear to be more technologically advanced than CDC’s current platform,” the Chairs wrote. “Like NHSN, the new database relies on manual data entry with inherent reporting delays, as opposed to the automatic reporting technology that experts have called for. Experts have also raised concerns that HHS does not have the same expertise as CDC in analyzing and reporting this type of critical data.”
In the letter, Clyburn, Maloney and Krishnamoorthi also seek information on why TeleTracking was awarded a sole-source contract and how data reported through this new platform will differ from that previously reported through CDC.
This letter follows a warning from four former CDC directors, who served under both Republican and Democratic presidents, about unprecedented politicization of the CDC in the Trump Administration.
Read the letter to Secretary Azar and Director Redfield here.