For Immediate Release:
Contact: Kelly Broadway, 202-808-8853
CDC’s Focus is on Control, Not What Works for the American People
Washington, D.C. – Recent comments by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky supporting the Improving DATA in Public Health Act highlight the agency’s refreshing acknowledgment that more must be done to improve how public health data is gathered, shared and used. While the Health Innovation Alliance (HIA) strongly supports strengthening the system, the CDC should not be rewarded for its self-described failure with a broad new authority to mandate any data it wants from anyone it wants. No federal agency should have the sweeping data collection authority outlined in the Improving DATA in Public Health Act.
The CDC has repeatedly proven that it is incapable of handling a national database run by public health bureaucrats. A report released today by the U.S. House Subcommittee on the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic includes similar acknowledgment by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and that it had “identified numerous longstanding challenges in the federal government’s management of public health data,” including the lack of common data standards and interoperability among varying public health data systems, and “the complete lack of a public health IT infrastructure.” The bungling of COVID-19 data is the perfect example of the CDC’s failure to properly collect, use, and share consistent and clear public health data to protect Americans.
Instead of giving the CDC more power and more money – it has already received more than $1 billion in funding to improve data collection – Congress should pass legislation increasing oversight of the CDC.
HIA supports the following:
- Build on what works at the state and local levels instead of creating untested, unknown federal databases
- Avoid pouring yet more federal dollars into the CDC that duplicate work
- Reduce unnecessary and burdensome red tape on state and local public health entities as well as providers responding to pandemics on the ground that offer no value to patients or taxpayers
Everyone agrees, the CDC needs serious reforms. Unfortunately, doubling down with more resources and more control is not the answer. HIA will work with policymakers to improve public health data by making sure consistent actionable data is available when it is needed by front-line health workers, patients, and public health entities.