Center for Disease Control and Prevention August 10, 2020
Healthcare Providers Urged to Collect Demographic Information When Ordering COVID-19 Laboratory Tests
The public health response to COVID-19 depends on comprehensive laboratory testing data. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the HHS Laboratory Data Reporting Guidance released on June 4, 2020 require every COVID-19 testing site to report specific data elements for every diagnostic and screening test performed to detect SARS-CoV-2 or to diagnose a possible case of COVID-19 (e.g., molecular, antigen, antibody). The data are to be reported to the appropriate state or local public health department, based on the individual’s residence.
Healthcare providers also have a critical role in collecting several of the data elements when ordering a COVID-19 laboratory test, particularly demographic information such as the patient’s age, sex, race, and ethnicity. Beginning August 1, 2020, testing sites should make every reasonable effort to report these demographic data to state and local health departments using existing public health reporting channels (in accordance with state law or policies).
Complete demographic data will:
- Ensure that all groups have equitable access to testing,
- Allow an accurate determination of the burden of infection on vulnerable groups, and
- Help improve decision-making to better prevent or mitigate further COVID-19 illness among Americans.
Below are some additional resources for more information about this COVID-19 laboratory reporting requirement:
- CDC’s How to Report COVID-19 Laboratory Data website
- HHS’s CARES Act Section 18115 Laboratory Data Reporting Guidance
- HHS Press Release: HHS Announces New Laboratory Data Reporting Guidance for COVID-19 Testing
- HHS’s Frequently Asked Questions: Laboratory Data Reporting for COVID-19 Testing
For questions or to request more information on this HHS laboratory reporting requirement, please contact DLSinquiries@cdc.gov.
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