Centers for Disease Control Director Outlines Funding Usage for $500 Million in Data Modernization Funding McBath Secured

The funding will be used to “identify, track, and respond to emerging health threats, diseases and pandemics.”

August 5, 2020

Marietta, GA — Today, Rep. Lucy McBath (GA-06) released the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) response to her letter seeking specific information about how the agency will use the $500 million in public health data modernization funding she secured. Director Dr. Robert Redfield sent a letter detailing the methods through which the data modernization funding included in the CARES Act will support public health data systems across the country and better equip the CDC to “identify, track, and respond to emerging health threats, diseases and pandemics,” such as COVID-19.

“One of my first priorities as a new member of Congress in 2019 was to visit the CDC and listen to the public health experts about what they needed to help protect Americans. In December, health experts from the CDC released a report that outlined the immediate need for improved public health data systems to fight ‘life-threatening epidemics.’ After learning their budget had previously been cut, reading this report, and learning from the CDC that they needed funding to protect public health, I immediately introduced the bill to help modernize the CDC.” McBath said. “I am proud that in March, the $500 million to help prevent pandemics and other public health crises was secured as part of the COVID-19 relief package. I’m glad to see that Dr. Redfield and the CDC are using this funding to modernize their data systems to help our country identify, track, and respond to pandemics like COVID-19.”

In December of 2019, before the first case of the coronavirus was confirmed in the United States, McBath and Rep. Buddy Carter (GA-01) introduced a bill to modernize public health data systems and improve pandemic preparedness. This came after a report by Director of Science and Policy, Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, Janet Hamilton, who wrote, “The nation’s public health data systems are antiquated and in dire need of security upgrades,” and that the consequences of inaction included “delayed detection and response, lost time, missed opportunities, and lost lives.”

Earlier this month, McBath criticized a decision by the Administration to bypass the CDC and send information directly to the Department of Health and Human Services, stating that, “the CDC has always been an example of unbiased and thorough medical research, both in America and around the world, and we must continue to provide the doctors and experts at the CDC the resources they need to help solve and prevent public health crises.”

H.R. 5321, the Public Health Infrastructure Modernization Act of 2019 amends the Public Health Service Act to expand, enhance, and improve public health data systems. The bill improves community preparedness and:

  • Authorizes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to update and improve public health data systems used by the agency.
  • Gives $500 million over 5 years for public health data improvement.
  • Requires HHS to award grants to state and local public health departments for the expansion and modernization of public health data systems to improve data collection, simplify reporting by health care providers, enhance interoperability of current public health data systems with health information technology, support earlier disease detection, and support electronic case reporting.