Transparency victories regarding facility-level COVID data

Fred Trotter

May 21, 2021

HHS has recently released data about vaccinated personnel at different hospitals. They have also released a new “master key” that helps to identify how hospitals are being enumerated as part of the COVID reporting system. Both of these new data resources have been made public as part of the collaboration that CareSet and other data researchers and journalists have with the Federal COVID data team, itself formed with Federal Employees from USDS, the White House and other HHS agency personnel.These data releases are both transparency victories regarding facility-level COVID data. Both new data changes are important enough that our data journalist partners as well as our data clients should be aware of the changes. This data is taken from required and optional data reporting that all hospitals in the US have been supplying to HHS. The first issue is the vaccination rate of healthcare providers. The previous facility-level COVID reporting data has been augmented with 3 new fields:

  • total_personnel_covid_vaccinated_doses_none_7_day_min
  • total_personnel_covid_vaccinated_doses_one_7_day_max
  • total_personnel_covid_vaccinated_doses_all_7_day_max

These three fields detail how many clinical employees have hospital personnel have no vaccinations, are partially and completely vaccinated. This is optional reporting and not every hospital is reporting, but even so this is an important measure of vaccine hesitancy in hospital professionals. Second, HHS has quietly debuted the HHS_ID. Previously hospitals have been typically identified using either CCN or NPI and neither of these identifiers properly map to a single brick and mortar hospital location. As a result, HHS created the “HHS_ID” which is based on CCN, but differentiates hospitals who share a contract with CMS, but have different locations. You can read more about these changes in the unofficial COVID facility-level data FAQ, which is hosted by CareSet.

Fred Trotter

Fred shapes our software development and data gathering strategies, which doesn't stop him from getting elbow-deep in the code on a regular basis. He is co-author of the first Health IT O’Reilly book Hacking Healthcare, and co-creator of the DIRECT protocol mandated in Meaningful Use. Fred’s technical commentary and data journalism work has been featured in several online and print journals including Wired, Forbes, U.S. News, NPR, Government Health IT, and Modern Healthcare.

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