The Health Innovation Alliance on Tuesday called on congressional leadership to pass legislation that would increase accountability for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health agencies.
“Not only has the CDC been provided an extensive amount of additional funding for COVID-19 response, but the agency failed to update and modernize its response plans and systems as required by Congress in 2006, and again twice since then,” the group’s Executive Director Joel White wrote in a letter addressed to top lawmakers.
White urged Congress to “ensure that the CDC is not using the additional funding to duplicate successful work already occurring in the private sector” and limit the agency from requiring “unnecessary reporting” from state and local health bodies.
“Rather, CDC should focus on taking actionable steps to ensure data is flowing both up to the agency but also back to the providers, front-line health workers, and public health entities that need it for treatment and response,” White added.
The CDC has faced intense scrutiny amid the COVID-19 pandemic, receiving criticism for slow responses and unclear guidance, among other missteps.
Following a sweeping internal review, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said earlier this year that the agency needs to speed up its response time, simplify its public-facing communication and enact other changes to make sure it is fulfilling its mission.
The Health Innovation Alliance letter also pressed lawmakers to create a commission that would “issue recommendations to Congress on whether and how to modernize federal laws and regulations governing health care data” and to support advances in virtual care and digitization in healthcare, like expanding telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries and streamlining the preauthorization process that green-lights treatment plans.
Health Innovation Alliance is a health and technology advocacy organization composed of patient groups, provider organizations and other entities and stakeholders in the healthcare space.