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Trump administration asks hospitals to report daily COVID-19 testing data

The Trump administration has requested that certain hospitals report coronavirus testing results every day to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Vice President Mike Pence said in a March 29 letter that the reporting request will be for hospitals that conduct testing through "in-house" laboratories, meaning facilities that have labs on site.

Hospitals conducting all of their testing through commercial labs like Quest Diagnostics Inc. or Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings do not need to follow the reporting request.

Pence said the data will help agencies "better understand disease patterns and develop policies" to help stop the spread of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

All data must be reported daily by 5 p.m. ET, according to the letter.

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said in a March 29 statement that commercial and private labs are already reporting this data to federal agencies, but some hospitals' on-site laboratories are not sharing full testing results.

"The nation's nearly 4,700 hospitals have access to testing data that's updated daily. This data will help us better support hospitals to address their supply and capacity needs, as well as strengthen our surveillance efforts across the country," CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a March 29 press release.

The CMS said all data being reported should not contain personally-identifying information.

Hospitals have also been required to report information daily regarding bed capacity and supplies to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Healthcare Safety Network, which is being used to track information related to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the CMS.

At least 153,246 COVID-19 cases and 2,828 deaths have been confirmed in the U.S. as of March 30, according to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recently used emergency use authorization authorities to ease requirements around laboratory testing for COVID-19, allowing healthcare professionals to use newly developed testing methods in an expedited process.

The FDA said in a March 30 statement that labs have been allowed to start testing prior to the agency's review of validation data. The agency also said states can take responsibility for tests developed and used by labs in their area without any FDA review.