GAO Blog: How Can the Federal Government – including CDC, HHS, CMS – Strengthen Its Response to COVID-19?

“Today’s WatchBlog looks at our third report on the implementation of the CARES Act and other pandemic relief measures. The report outlines the many effective steps the Administration and the Congress have taken to address issues, and identifies further steps to improve the nation’s response in these areas:

  • the medical supply chain
  • vaccines and therapeutics
  • data collection
  • stimulus payments
  • federal assistance to states and localities
  • K-12 schools
  • federal procurements
  • cybersecurity…”

COVID-19 Data Collection

“We have identified a need to collect reliable data that can drive decision-making. Specifically, better data is needed on COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. We made recommendations on reporting race and ethnicity information for cases and hospitalizations to further explore potential disparities. We also found that HHS’s data on COVID-19 in nursing homes don’t capture the early months of the pandemic. HHS, in consultation with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the CDC, should develop a strategy to capture more complete data on COVID-19 cases and deaths in nursing homes retroactively back to January 1, 2020…”

Cybersecurity

“We have identified numerous cybersecurity weaknesses at multiple HHS component agencies—including CMS, CDC, and the Food and Drug Administration—during the last 6 years. These weaknesses can pose risks to patient information, intellectual property, public health data, and intelligence. Based on imminent cybersecurity threats, we urge HHS to expedite implementation of our prior recommendations regarding cybersecurity weaknesses at its component agencies…” Read the full article here.

Source: How Can the Federal Government Strengthen Its Response to COVID-19? – September 21, 2020. GAO.

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