White House to Halt Funding for Hospitals

Senior Trump administration officials said on Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will halt some federal fundings to hospitals that do not comply with its requirements for reporting data on COVID-19.

From Wednesday, hospitals will be given 14 weeks to provide daily reporting to HHS on COVID-19 cases and deaths, as well as other information such as influenza cases and the use of personal protective equipment. Hospitals that fail to comply will lose access to reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid, federal insurance programs for seniors, the disabled, and people with low incomes, added the officials.

Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator, issued a statement in which she said that the data will help coordinate the federal government’s response to COVID-19, including helping allocate supplies of antiviral drug remdesivir, and distribute its stockpile of personal protective equipment, such as surgical masks.

The officials also said that the Department of Health and Human Services is requiring that hospitals provide daily influenza case reporting because of the likelihood flu season will intersect with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director, Robert Redfield, said in a statement:

“It is not certain what will happen this fall and winter, however, the CDC is preparing for there to be COVID-19 and seasonal flu activity at the same time.’’

According to Reuters, earlier this year, the U.S. government struggled to provide sufficient personal protective equipment to hospitals inundated with COVID-19 patients. It has also played a role in allocating Gilead Sciences Inc’s remdesivir to hospitals after U.S. regulators approved the antiviral drug in May for emergency use in some COVID-19 patients.

Several reports suggest that this move from the administration was intended to bypass the CDC. The director of the CDC rejected this report.

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