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The National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians has released detailed analysis about and recommendations for the comprehensive collection and reporting of patient demographic data related to COVID-19 testing and treatment.

The report makes six recommendations:

  • All reporting of race and ethnicity data related to COVID-19 testing and treatment should report, at a minimum, data for all six Office of Management and Budget race and ethnicity categories, including Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) should provide technical assistance and other resources to state and local health departments to improve the comprehensiveness of the collection and reporting of patient race and ethnicity related to COVID-19 testing and treatment.
  • The CDC should immediately revise its Human Infection with 2019 Novel Coronavirus: Person Under Investigation (PUI) and Case Report Formto include the collection of more granular race and ethnicity, primary language, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and social and behavioral risk factor data.
  • State and local health departments should continue reporting COVID-19 data stratified by race and ethnicity, providing both numbers and percentages, and a comparison percentage of the racial and ethnic demographics of the relevant (state or local) population.
  • State and local health departments should include the collection and reporting of more granular race and ethnicity, primary language, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and social and behavioral risk data for individuals seeking testing and treatment related to COVID-19.
  • Hospitals, clinics, and providers must be supported in collecting and reporting comprehensive patient demographic data for COVID-19, and for ALL conditions and diagnoses.

The report notes:

“This extraordinary moment during this extraordinary time presents a unique opportunity to institutionalize comprehensive patient demographic data collection and reporting related to COVID-19 in the short-term, and more importantly, implement the policy and systems changes that will institutionalize such comprehensive patient demographic data collection for all conditions and diagnoses, by all U.S. health care systems and providers, as an essential intervention to advance health equity.

As noted by many government officials and other stakeholders this month, the racial and ethnic disparities related to COVID-19 only highlight the continuing racial and ethnic disparities in health care and health status that have always existed but had never received this level of media, public, and governmental attention.

Racial and ethnic health disparities are not new, nor isolated, to the COVID-19 pandemic. What is new is the universal call for improved patient demographic data collection and reporting, and the universal acknowledgement that health equity demands that health care and other resources need to be intentionally shifted and focused in order to reduce those disparities.”

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