Press Release

Press Release Governor Baker Files COVID-19 Data Collection Bill

For immediate release:
6/09/2020
  • Office of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito
  • Governor's Press Office
  • Department of Public Health
  • Executive Office of Health and Human Services

Media Contact for Governor Baker Files COVID-19 Data Collection Bill

Sarah Finlaw, Press Secretary, Governor's Office

Governor Baker Files COVID-19 Data Collection Bill

BOSTONGovernor Charlie Baker has filed “An Act to Ensure the Collection of COVID-19 Data,” which will build on legislation recently signed by the governor to expand data collection during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Throughout the pandemic, our administration has continued to expand the information that is made available daily to the public, and this bill will build on the legislation recently passed by the Legislature to further increase data collection by the Department of Public Health,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “COVID-19 has taken a tremendous toll on the residents of the Commonwealth, and has disproportionately impacted certain populations including communities of color and older residents. We have moved to file this bill quickly to ensure that entities are required to report to DPH in a timely way, and look forward to working with the Legislature to pass these updates to help further address the health disparities affecting these communities.”

“This bill will help further enhance the data our administration publishes daily to inform the public about the impact of COVID-19 within the Commonwealth,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We know that some communities have disproportionately felt the impact of this terrible virus, and we will continue to work with the Legislature to address these issues.”

Click here to read the filing letter

Click here to read the legislation

This week, Governor Baker signed “An Act Addressing COVID-19 Data Collection and Disparities in Treatment,” which will allow for the collection and publication of additional data to understand the impact of COVID-19 on underserved and underrepresented populations and other groups.

The bill filed by Governor Baker proposes several updates to this law to ensure the timely reporting of information to the Department of Public Health (DPH).

The quality of the data reported by the Department is entirely dependent on the quality and completeness of the data that is submitted by health care providers and laboratories. While the newly passed law makes clear that DPH is required to collect data on COVID-19 cases and patient demographics, it does not codify the providers’ and laboratories’ responsibility to timely and completely report this data to the department. The governor’s legislation amends the reporting law to make this responsibility clear, and to give DPH the power to issue fines if providers do not comply.

The recently passed bill also requires that a list of designated elder care facilities report COVID-19 data about their residents and staff. While it makes sense to collect this data from the facilities that have access to their residents’ health information, like nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities, this law also imposes this obligation on housing complexes and rental units that merely offer housing to the elderly. The governor’s legislation proposes to remove this requirement due to privacy considerations and concerns over the quality of data available from these entities.

The governor’s bill also includes an amendment that would allow the Department to aggregate the data where not doing so would violate federal law or an individuals’ privacy right.

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Media Contact for Governor Baker Files COVID-19 Data Collection Bill

Office of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito 

Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and the Baker-Polito Administration are working to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and keep Massachusetts residents safe and healthy.

Governor's Press Office 

Visit the Governor’s Press Office to learn about recent news from the administration, follow our happenings on social media, and for media contact information.

Department of Public Health 

DPH promotes the health and well-being of all residents by ensuring access to high-quality public health and healthcare services, and by focusing on prevention, wellness, and health equity in all people.

Executive Office of Health and Human Services 

The Executive Office of Health and Human Services is the largest secretariat in state government and is comprised of 12 agencies, in addition to 2 soldiers’ homes and the MassHealth program. Our efforts are focused on the health, resilience, and independence of the one in four residents of the Commonwealth we serve. Our public health programs touch every community in the Commonwealth.
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