Maine Hospital Association voices frustration over federal changes to reporting of COVID-19 data

Last month, the Trump administration made several changes to the ways hospitals report COVID-19 to the federal government, and those changes are causing headaches for Maine health care facilities.Instead of sending the data to the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hospitals send the data to private contractor Teletracking.“I don’t think it made it any easier for us, I don’t think there is any question about that,” Maine Hospital Association President Steven Michaud said.Under the new policy, hospitals must report several dozen data points on a daily basis, including available beds, ventilators and personal protective equipment.“It’s beyond an administrative headache. We deal with those all the time, but it was really not what we needed at that time,” Michaud said.The federal government said the changes would be a way to streamline collecting key information, but the change raised concerns over the transparency of the data.Michaud said the 36 hospitals in the state represented by the Maine Hospital Association have not had major issues.“Nothing has blown up yet.” Michaud said. “We haven’t heard much yet, but it’s early.”He said he has not seen added value with the change in reporting data. Michaud said the change forced hospitals to redo data systems to comply on a short timeline and are still exploring an easier way to do it.“Maybe working with the state and then submitting the data that way, but that is not what is happening right now,” Michaud said.

Last month, the Trump administration made several changes to the ways hospitals report COVID-19 to the federal government, and those changes are causing headaches for Maine health care facilities.

Instead of sending the data to the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hospitals send the data to private contractor Teletracking.

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“I don’t think it made it any easier for us, I don’t think there is any question about that,” Maine Hospital Association President Steven Michaud said.

Under the new policy, hospitals must report several dozen data points on a daily basis, including available beds, ventilators and personal protective equipment.

“It’s beyond an administrative headache. We deal with those all the time, but it was really not what we needed at that time,” Michaud said.

The federal government said the changes would be a way to streamline collecting key information, but the change raised concerns over the transparency of the data.

Michaud said the 36 hospitals in the state represented by the Maine Hospital Association have not had major issues.

“Nothing has blown up yet.” Michaud said. “We haven’t heard much yet, but it’s early.”

He said he has not seen added value with the change in reporting data. Michaud said the change forced hospitals to redo data systems to comply on a short timeline and are still exploring an easier way to do it.

“Maybe working with the state and then submitting the data that way, but that is not what is happening right now,” Michaud said.