Rep. Taylor Reintroduces Bill to Improve Accuracy of Public Health Data

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Washington, March 3, 2021 | Anna Raquel McCormack ((202) 570-0927) | comments
Congressman Van Taylor reintroduced bipartisan legislation in the House of Representatives to harmonize the collection and reporting of public health data across all levels of government
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WASHINGTON – This week, United States Congressman Van Taylor (R-TX-03) was joined by Congresswoman Kathy Castor (D-FL-14) and Congressman Kurt Schrader (D-OR-05) to reintroduce bipartisan legislation in the House of Representatives to harmonize the collection and reporting of public health data across all levels of government.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently provides some reporting guidance through the National Vital Statistics System, methods used by state and local governments vary widely, making it difficult to accurately track, measure, and share information. Lack of consistent data and reporting requirements can prevent public health officials from making well-informed decisions.

H.R. 1478, the Vital STATS Act, aims to eliminate inconsistencies in the collection and reporting of public health data amongst federal, state, and local jurisdictions and, as a result, improve our nation's health system.

Author of the legislation, Congressman Van Taylor, said, “The Coronavirus pandemic has highlighted long-standing inconsistencies in the collection and reporting of public health data amongst federal, state, and local jurisdictions.” He went on, “By improving the ability to accurately track, measure, and share vital statistics, our bill, the Vital STATS Act can help ensure public health officials have access to the best information and data available when making important decisions that ultimately impact the health and wellbeing of Americans.”

“Consistent and transparent reporting of vital statistics and health data keeps our health experts and neighbors equipped to respond to emergencies like the coronavirus pandemic and informs smart public health strategies,”
said Representative Castor. “COVID-19, recent natural disasters, and the opioid epidemic have laid bare the long-standing inconsistencies in vital statistics collection and reporting. That’s why Rep. Taylor and I are introducing the VITAL Stats Act to take an important first step to modernize reporting of health data and vital statistics in a modern, transparent way.”

Specifically, H.R. 1478 requires the Department of Health and Human Services to work with the National Academy of Medicine to conduct a yearlong study assessing the effectiveness of current vital statistics reporting and data sharing between public health entities. Following completion of the study, the Vital STATS Act requires the National Academies to submit a report to Congress with policy recommendations addressing the coordination and standardization of state, local, and federal reporting measures to increase the efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency of such reporting, and also the feasibility of setting national standards for death reporting and collecting vital statistics.

H.R. 1478, the Vital STATS Act is endorsed by Texas Health Resources, Baylor Scott & White Health, and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

The complete text of H.R. 1478 can be found here.

Background
The VITAL Stats Act was first introduced in September 2020 by Congressman Van Taylor and Congresswoman Donna Shalala. Prior to introduction of the legislation, Taylor and Shalala worked together to introduce an amendment to improve the reporting of vital statistics in H.R. 7617, the Defense, Commerce, Justice, Science, Energy and Water Development, Financial Services and General Government, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Act for 2021. The amendment passed unanimously and was included in the bill's report language.

A 7th generation Texan, Congressman Van Taylor is a dedicated family man, successful businessman, and decorated Marine Officer. Taylor served Collin County both in the Texas House of Representatives and Texas Senate. Today, Taylor is proud to serve on the House Committee on Financial Services.

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