PRIOR PRINTER'S NO. 4602
PRINTER'S NO. 4624
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE RESOLUTION
No.
1087
Session of
2020
INTRODUCED BY KLUNK, BARRAR, ECKER, FEE, KAUFFMAN, MOUL,
ROTHMAN, RYAN, COX, GAYDOS, OWLETT, CAUSER, SAYLOR,
OBERLANDER, HICKERNELL, HERSHEY, JONES AND TOEPEL,
NOVEMBER 12, 2020
AS AMENDED, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, NOVEMBER 19, 2020
A RESOLUTION
Directing the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to
conduct an audit A REVIEW of the data collection systems
utilized by the Department of Health during the COVID-19
pandemic.
WHEREAS, The novel coronavirus was first discovered in Wuhan,
China, at the end of December of 2019; and
WHEREAS, The novel coronavirus is the virus that causes
COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, The first documented case of COVID-19 appeared in
this Commonwealth in March of 2020; and
WHEREAS, On March 6, 2020, Governor Wolf signed a declaration
of disaster emergency to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in this
Commonwealth; and
WHEREAS, The Secretary of Health has served as the primary
point of contact for all COVID-19 infection data in this
Commonwealth through her role as the head of the Department of
Health in accordance with the Disease Prevention and Control Act
of 1955; and
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WHEREAS, The collecting and sharing of information with
respect to COVID-19 infection rates, locations of positive
COVID-19 cases, mortality data and other information within the
purview of the Department of Health is vital to contain the
virus and inform the public; and
WHEREAS, The Bureau of Health Statistics and Registries of
the Department of Health is responsible for the death
certificates of all individuals who have died in this
Commonwealth, including individuals who have died for reasons
other than COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, The coroners and medical examiners in this
Commonwealth are responsible for investigating deaths that occur
in this Commonwealth due to a communicable disease; and
WHEREAS, In late April of 2020, the Pennsylvania State
Coroners Association publicly stated that there was a conflict
between the number of COVID-19 deaths reported by the Department
of Health and the number of COVID-19 deaths reported by coroners
in this Commonwealth; and
WHEREAS, Due to the alarming conflict in the number of COVID-
19 deaths reported by the Department of Health and coroners in
this Commonwealth, the Department of Health removed hundreds of
deceased individuals from the Department of Health's list of
COVID-19 deaths without an explanation or a review of the death
certificates for the removed individuals; and
WHEREAS, On May 26, 2020, the Department of Health released a
report specifying the number of COVID-19 cases discovered in
nursing homes; and
WHEREAS, Upon the release of the Department of Health's
report, nursing homes immediately contested the information in
the report, including information in the report stating that
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COVID-19 cases exceeded the number of beds in certain nursing
homes; and
WHEREAS, More than seven months since the beginning of the
COVID-19 pandemic, there is still no consistent reporting
mechanism for COVID-19 cases and deaths in nursing homes; and
WHEREAS, Despite nursing homes and other long-term care
facilities providing numerous reports on COVID-19 to the
Department of Health and the Department of Human Services,
information on COVID-19 for nursing homes and other long-term
care facilities is often delayed more than a week and the
information often includes many missing details; and
WHEREAS, On May 22, 2020, the Department of Health announced
that the Department of Health was combining COVID-19 testing
results from viral tests and antibody tests; and
WHEREAS, A viral or polymerase chain test reaction test is
utilized to determine if a patient has a current viral infection
of COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, An antibody test is utilized to determine if a
patient had a prior or previously undiagnosed or asymptomatic
viral infection of COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, The Department of Health's decision to combine the
two different COVID-19 test results when submitting reports on
COVID-19 to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
results in an over inflation of the status of COVID-19 cases in
this Commonwealth; and
WHEREAS, The Department of Health continues to report COVID-
19 data on polymerase chain test results that is more than 30
days old; and
WHEREAS, In addition to the Department of Health's decision
to combine the polymerase chain test results for COVID-19 and
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the antibody test results for COVID-19 when submitting reports
on COVID-19 to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
the Department of Health's failure to SEPARATELY report antibody
testing to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has
distorted the status of COVID-19 cases in this Commonwealth; and
WHEREAS, Residents of this Commonwealth have logged numerous
complaints about the causes of death listed on the death
certificates of loved ones; and
WHEREAS, Death certificates in this Commonwealth can be filed
by coroners, medical examiners, treating health care providers
and other authorized individuals; and
WHEREAS, A review of the death certificate information from
other states shows numerous inaccuracies in the reporting of
COVID-19 deaths and the comorbidities associated with the
deaths; and
WHEREAS, During two days in June of 2020, this Commonwealth
recorded a 100% positive rate for COVID-19 on all tests
performed; and
WHEREAS, Despite this statistical anomaly, the Department of
Health has not initiated or reviewed the COVID-19 data reported
on those two days to review necessary changes to data reporting;
and
WHEREAS, From October 20 to October 21, 2020, the COVID-19
data provided by the Department of Health showed more COVID-19
deaths in long-term care facilities than in this entire
Commonwealth; and
WHEREAS, This higher COVID-19 death rate data in long-term
care facilities is a statistical impossibility; and
WHEREAS, Instances of anomalies, inaccuracies, statistical
impossibilities and other reporting concerns are still happening
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at the Department of Health more than seven months after the
beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic; and
WHEREAS, Residents of this Commonwealth need to have accurate
and reliable COVID-19 data to make choices for their health,
safety and security; therefore be it
RESOLVED, That the House of Representatives direct the
Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to conduct an audit A
REVIEW of the data collection systems utilized by the Department
of Health during the COVID-19 pandemic; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee
review information received from nursing homes, long-term care
facilities, health care facilities, coroners and medical
examiners to determine the accurate number of COVID-19 cases in
this Commonwealth; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee's
audit include all of the following information:
(1) An analysis of the daily total COVID-19 reports
submitted to the Department of Health.
(2) An analysis of the daily total COVID-19 reports
received by the Department of Health by other State agencies.
(3) An analysis of the COVID-19 reports provided by
county coroners, medical examiners and local boards of
health.
(4) An analysis of the changes in the daily total COVID-
19 reports provided by the Department of Health, including
the revised numbers of COVID-19 positive test results and
decreases to the total number of reported cases.
(5) An analysis of the comorbidities reported by
patients who tested positive for COVID-19 in addition to the
positive viral diagnoses.
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(6) Conclusions regarding the areas where data
discrepancies have been found and how the discrepancies can
be avoided in future;
and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee
review the death certificates of deceased individuals which have
been labeled as COVID-19 deaths and analyze the following
information:
(1) The location of death.
(2) The individual who recorded the death.
(3) The method of recording the chain of events
regarding the death.
(4) The location of COVID-19 in the chain of events
listed as the cause of death;
and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee
review the reporting of COVID-19 data to determine the number of
viral tests and antibody tests performed in this Commonwealth,
including the following information:
(1) The number of polymerase chain test reaction tests
performed, including the number of samples tested and the
number of individuals tested.
(2) The number of COVID-19 positive polymerase chain
test reaction results, including the number of times the same
individual tested positive for COVID-19.
(3) The number of COVID-19 negative polymerase chain
test reaction results, including the number of times the same
individual tested negative for COVID-19.
(4) The number of antibody tests or other serum tests
performed, including the number of samples tested and the
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number of individuals tested.
(5) The number of COVID-19 positive antibody tests or
other serum tests performed, including the number of times
the same individual tested positive for COVID-19.
(6) The number of COVID-19 negative antibody tests or
serum tests performed, including the number of times the same
individual tested negative for COVID-19.
(7) A determination on when the Department of Health
ceased combining COVID-19 testing results from viral tests
and antibody tests when submitting reports on COVID-19 to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
(8) A determination on how other COVID-19 test results
are collated, counted and reported in this Commonwealth;
and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee
review the anomalies in the reporting of COVID-19 data by the
Department of Health, including, but not limited to, all of the
following:
(1) The dates when the positivity rate of COVID-19 tests
in this Commonwealth was more than 50%.
(2) The laboratories that performed the COVID-19 tests
described under paragraph (1).
(3) The brands of the COVID-19 tests described under
paragraph (1).
(4) The types of the COVID-19 tests described under
paragraph (1).
(5) The counties where the COVID-19 tests described
under paragraph (1) were performed and the number of COVID-19
tests that were performed on different dates than the COVID-
19 tests described under paragraph (1);
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and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee
review the delays in reporting of positive COVID-19 cases and
the circumstances that are leading to delays in excess of 40
days in the reporting of positive COVID-19 cases; and be it
further
RESOLVED, THAT THE LEGISLATIVE BUDGET AND FINANCE COMMITTEE
REVIEW DATA COLLECTED AND DISSEMINATED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF
HEALTH AND ISSUE A REPORT OF ITS FINDINGS; AND BE IT FURTHER
RESOLVED, THAT THE REPORT INCLUDE, BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO, A
REVIEW OF ALL OF THE FOLLOWING:
(1) THE NUMBER AND TYPE OF COVID-19 TESTS COMPLETED IN
THIS COMMONWEALTH, INCLUDING A REVIEW OF ALL OF THE
FOLLOWING:
(I) INFORMATION ON THE COMMINGLING OF TEST RESULTS
FOR POLYMERASE CHAIN REACTION TESTS AND ANTIBODY TESTS.
(II) THE DATA SYSTEM USED TO ENSURE COVID-19
POSITIVE TESTS FROM THE SAME INDIVIDUAL WERE NOT REPORTED
AS MULTIPLE POSITIVE CASES.
(III) THE TYPE OF COVID-19 TESTS COMPLETED,
INCLUDING POLYMERASE CHAIN REACTION TESTS, ANTIBODY TESTS
AND RAPID ANTIGEN TESTS.
(2) THE POLICIES, PROCEDURES AND PRACTICES OF STATE
AGENCIES REPORTING COVID-19 TEST RESULTS TO THE DEPARTMENT OF
HEALTH AND THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION,
INCLUDING A REVIEW OF ALL OF THE FOLLOWING:
(I) THE COVID-19 REPORTING REQUIREMENTS OF STATE
AGENCIES, HEALTH CARE FACILITIES AND OTHER LONG-TERM CARE
FACILITIES TO DETERMINE IF DUPLICATION OF REPORTING
THROUGH MULTIPLE DATA SYSTEMS HAS RESULTED IN MORE
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ACCURATE DATA OR A DUPLICATION OF INFORMATION.
(II) LABORATORY REPORTING FOR COVID-19 TO THE
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH TO DETERMINE WHY THERE ARE DELAYS IN
REPORTING COVID-19 INFORMATION TO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH OR
BY THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH THAT HAS RESULTED IN DELAYS
OF INFORMATION BEING REPORTED ON THE DEPARTMENT OF
HEALTH'S COVID-19 DASHBOARD.
(III) THE PROCEDURES UTILIZED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF
HEALTH TO REVISE POSITIVE COVID-19 TEST RESULTS AND
COVID-19 DEATHS IN DAILY REPORTING OR ON THE DEPARTMENT
OF HEALTH'S COVID-19 DASHBOARD.
(3) THE DEATH CERTIFICATES FOR RESIDENTS OF THIS
COMMONWEALTH WHO MAY HAVE DIED FROM COVID-19 TO ENSURE THE
DEATHS WERE PROPERLY, ACCURATELY AND CONSISTENTLY REPORTED TO
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH;
AND BE IT FURTHER
RESOLVED, THAT THE LEGISLATIVE BUDGET AND FINANCE COMMITTEE
INCLUDE ANY ADDITIONAL INFORMATION IN ITS REPORT AS DEEMED
NECESSARY TO EFFECTUATE THE PURPOSES OF THIS RESOLUTION; AND BE
IT FURTHER
RESOLVED, That the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee
issue a report on the COVID-19 data collected by the Department
of Health for the period beginning March 6, 2020, and ending
March 6, 2021, or for the period beginning March 6, 2020, and
ending 60 90 days after expiration or termination of the
Governor's declaration of disaster emergency issued on March 6,
2020, whichever is later; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee
issue interim reports every 60 90 days beginning 90 days after
the adoption of this resolution on the COVID-19 information
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collected and any interim findings.
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