Providers are urging the Trump administration to collect more information about what's causing high rates of COVID-19 infection and death among African Americans and other people of color, according to a joint letter sent Thursday to HHS by three major associations.
The American Hospital Association, American Medical Association and American Nurses Association identified several areas that require more federal attention, including the need for additional information about "comorbidities, the number of patients by race who require ventilators, oxygen support or intubation, and the number who died in their homes."
"We need the federal government to identify areas where disparities exist and help us immediately address these gaps," they wrote.
The groups also pushed HHS to work with state and local public health departments to gather and share information to make sure that providers don't spend valuable time and resources collecting and reporting data that might already be available.
HHS should act to increase access to COVID-19 testing for African Americans by creating testing centers paid for and run by the federal government, according to the letter. Likewise, the Trump administration should make it easier to get a referral for COVID-19 testing since many people of color don't have health coverage or primary care access.
Hospitals, physicians and nurses also pressed HHS to develop ways to address minority populations' COVID-19 needs that are culturally relevant.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently started to collect and report information about COVID-19 patients' race and ethnicity—including testing, hospitalization and mortality data—after widespread reports that the COVID-19 outbreak was affecting racial and ethnic groups differently. But experts say they need more information to address the problems.