The Trump administration confirmed Wednesday that it has ordered hospitals to send data on coronavirus patients straight to the Department of Health and Human Services, instead of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The change raised questions about the integrity of the process. Some former health officials worry the move could result in less transparent data, although they acknowledged in interviews that the CDC’s data collection system is outdated and doesn’t meet the demands of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The CDC’s old data gathering operation once worked well monitoring hospital information across the country, but it’s an inadequate system today,” HHS spokesman Michael Caputo said in a statement to CNBC. “The President’s Coronavirus Task Force has urged improvements for months, but they just cannot keep up with this pandemic.”

The New York Times first reported on the Trump administration’s updated guidance on data reporting for hospitals and laboratories. The new guidance, which was quietly updated on July 10, was posted on the HHS website. The agency, which oversees the CDC, Food and Drug Administration and other U.S. health agencies, will now collect daily Covid-19 reports directly. That includes the number of hospitalized patients, available beds and medical equipment like ventilators as well as information used to organize the U.S. pandemic response.

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Will Feuer – CNBC – July 15, 2020.

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