Trump administration to urge states to use National Guard for COVID-19 data reporting

The Trump administration plans to ask governors to deploy the National Guard to help hospitals with coronavirus data collection, according to a draft letter obtained by The Washington Post.

The administration drafted a letter to governors that initially directed them to deploy the National Guard to help hospitals improve their COVID-19 data collection, supplies and capacity; however, the final draft reportedly toned down the directive and allows states to decide whether they'd prefer to have support from the National Guard. The letter reportedly requests states ensure hospitals submit accurate data in a timely manner and offers the National Guard to help coordinate if needed.

Hospital industry leaders are "infuriated" with the suggestion that the National Guard become involved in data collection, according to the Post, because they blame issues with HHS for inefficient COVID-19 data reporting.

"Given our track record of being cooperative to evolving data requests, it's perplexing that the possibility of using the National Guard has been suggested," Rick Pollack, president of the American Hospital Association, told the Post. "It makes no sense. Certainly expertise of the National Guard can be used in a more productive way."

HHS recently posted new data reporting protocols that require healthcare providers to report COVID-19 information to their state or federal contractor. Hospitals previously reported data to the CDC directly. A previous draft of the letter claimed around 3,000 hospitals weren't reporting sufficient data and the administration had considered placing National Guard troops at hospitals with electronic devices to gather data. A letter from hospital groups refuted that, saying hospitals are complying with data requests.

More articles on data analytics:
Why Texas' publicly reported COVID-19 death rates are likely too low
Florida's COVID-19 dashboard now reports hospitalizations
Texas Medical Center removes 'unsustainable surge capacity' label from data charts as it approaches those levels

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