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Bipartisan Bill Seeks Unified Reporting Criteria for COVID-19 Data

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A bipartisan group of representatives has introduced legislation to help improve data accuracy in COVID-19 research and other reporting activities related to the novel coronavirus.

The Office of Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., said Friday that he along with Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Ga., Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., introduced the Health STATISTICS Act of 2020 in an effort to standardize COVID-19 reporting at the county, city, state and national levels.

The Health STATISTICS Act will mandate the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to promote health data-sharing across the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health organizations while preserving rights to individual privacy.

The HHS secretary will also lead the development of data and technology standards as well as unified reporting criteria for high-priority data, according to the statement. 

“Our bill would ensure vital information often missing from current reports, such as race or mortality data, is collected and shared accordingly so that patterns can be found and relief can be more rapidly deployed,” said Rep. Peters. 

“Modernizing and standardizing public health reporting will reduce burdens on state and local public health departments and save money and lives,” noted Rep. Eshoo.

Other efforts under the Health STATISTICS Act include grant programs to help state, local, tribal and territorial governments modernize their health data infrastructure.