health and human services

An NPR investigation has found irregularities in the process by which the Trump administration awarded a multi-million dollar contract to a Pittsburgh company to collect key data about COVID-19 from the country's hospitals.

The contract is at the center of a controversy over the administration's decision to move that data reporting function from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — which has tracked infection information for a range of illnesses for years — to the Department of Health and Human Services.

The federal government has reached a $1.95 billion deal with Pfizer to acquire 100 million doses of its vaccine candidate against the coronavirus if the Food and Drug Administration OKs it. The vaccine would be free to Americans, according to the deal, though health care providers could charge to administer it.

Updated July 16, 9:40 a.m. ET

The Trump Administration has mandated that hospitals sidestep the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and send critical information about COVID-19 hospitalizations and equipment to a different federal database.

From the start of the pandemic, the CDC has collected data on COVID-19 hospitalizations, availability of intensive care beds and personal protective equipment. But hospitals must now report that information to the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the CDC.

A coalition of LGBTQ clinics and organizations are suing to block a Trump administration rule that aims to strip "sex discrimination" protections for transgender people from laws that govern health care. The rule, issued in final form by the Department of Health and Human Services on June 12, is distinct from last week's landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that bars discrimination against LGBTQ people in the workplace.

Updated at 7:03 p.m. ET

The federal scientist who was ousted last month as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority has filed a whistleblower complaint with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.

Updated at 6:59 p.m. ET Sunday

President Trump is moving to replace the Department of Health and Human Services watchdog whose office found severe shortages of medical supplies in hospitals as COVID-19 cases surged.

The Department of Health and Human Services is stepping back from a plan to end support on Friday for community-based coronavirus testing sites around the country.

Instead, the agency says local authorities can choose whether they want to transition to running the programs themselves or continue with federal oversight and help.

Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET

Some local officials are disappointed the federal government will end funding for coronavirus testing sites this Friday. In a few places those sites will close as a result. This as criticism continues that not enough testing is available.

In the Philadelphia suburbs, Montgomery County has a drive-through site that has tested 250 people a day since March 21.

A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court decision blocking states' requirements that people must work in order to receive Medicaid.

Residents of Kentucky and Arkansas brought the action against Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, contending that Azar "acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner when he approved Medicaid demonstration requests for Kentucky and Arkansas."

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit agreed, writing in an opinion posted Friday that the secretary's authorization was indeed unlawful.

Updated 7:55 p.m. ET

The Trump administration declared a public health emergency in the U.S. Friday in response to the global coronavirus outbreak.

"Today President Trump took decisive action to minimize the risk of novel coronavirus in the United States," said U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar at a White House press conference.

The risk of contracting the coronavirus is the U.S. is low — something that federal health administration officials emphasized repeatedly. "We are working to keep the risk low," Azar said.

Updated at 1:30 p.m. ET

Just hours before President Trump addressed thousands of anti-abortion rights activists at the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., his administration has given its attendees reason to cheer.

Updated 6:14 p.m. ET

The Trump administration announced it will crack down on certain vaping products containing fruit, mint and other e-cigarette flavors to keep them away from kids. Manufacturers will have 30 days to take these products off the market before the Food and Drug Administration can take enforcement action.

Updated at 1:50 p.m. ET

In a blow to the Trump administration, a federal court in Manhattan has knocked down a rule that would make it easier for doctors and other health care workers to refuse care for religious reasons.

There's no doubt that opioids have been massively overprescribed in U.S. In the haste to address the epidemic, there's been pressure on doctors to reduce prescriptions of these drugs — and in fact prescriptions are declining. But along the way, some chronic pain patients have been forced to rapidly taper or discontinue the drugs altogether.

Now, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a new message for doctors: Abrupt changes to a patient's opioid prescription could harm them.

The Trump administration is calling on U.N. member nations to oppose efforts to promote access to abortion internationally, a move immediately criticized by reproductive rights groups seeking greater access to the services globally.

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