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After two years of reporting to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, hospitals will soon upload their pandemic data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Healthcare Safety Network system, beginning with 2022 EHR reporting.

WHY IT MATTERS

In July 2020 hospitals were instructed by the Trump Administration to quickly transition to new federal reporting requirements – told to send their COVID-19 patient, supply and other data to HHS, rather than to CDC, can 4 naproxen kill you as they had been accustomed. 

The HHS contract with Pittsburgh-based TeleTracking Technologies – the vendor that had been tasked with managing the new reporting process – will expire on December 31, and hospitals will report their COVID-19 data to the NHSN, according to an email obtained by Bloomberg.

In a final rule published in the Federal Register on August 13, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services requires Syndromic Surveillance Reporting to CDC’s NHSN in the 2022 EHR reporting period as part of Medicare interoperability goals.

Also, HHS updated its COVID-19 Guidance for Hospital Reporting on August 10, highlighting many requirements as inactive with the note, “Please ensure complete reporting to NHSN per CMS guidance.”

THE LARGER TREND

Many hospitals initially had big challenges with the two-day pivot to the TeleTracking reporting system and, in some states, duplicative reporting requirements. Some hospital leaders told Healthcare IT News of “chaos” caused by the changeover to the new rules.

Meanwhile, the shift from CDC to HHS initially had public health experts and policymakers concerned about the possibility that vital public health information could be politicized.

Frustrated by the added administrative and financial burdens tied to distribution of Remdesivir and other COVID-19 supplies in 2020 during the chaotic reporting transition, some hospital associations submitted comments to CMS requesting disruption caused by reporting system changes be minimized.

ON THE RECORD

“CMS, CDC and [the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT] should work together closely to align the requirements for public health data collection and the requisite health information technology capabilities,” wrote CMS officials in the Federal Register, adding that the three agencies are collaborating and CDC’s Data Modernization Initiative is working to streamline requirements.

Andrea Fox is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Email: [email protected]

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS publication.

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