May 19, 2022 - Health

Report: Internal review finds deep culture problems at CDC

A sign for the CDC's Edward R. Roybal campus.

Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

An internal CDC review has found deep concerns about the agency's culture and responsiveness to public health threats, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: The findings could usher in big changes at an agency that's caught flack from public health experts, Congress and local officials for its handling of the COVID-19 crisis.

What they're saying: Individuals inside the CDC or from adjacent government agencies raised longstanding frustrations, according to Bloomberg, citing a rigid budget structure that prevents money from being reallocated to new priorities during emergencies.

  • The CDC also has insufficient authority and tools to obtain data from local governments and health care providers and to analyze it, the individuals said.
  • The review also takes up how the CDC can more quickly turn around its scientific research and disseminate findings to the public.

Background: The CDC has been involved in a series of messaging missteps that hindered the Biden administration's COVID response.

  • Months of convoluted guidance hit a breaking point with widely criticized agency guidance on how long COVID patients should remain in isolation.

What's ahead: Part of the review is being led by longtime HHS official James Macrae, who continues to interview people, Bloomberg reported.

  • The results could give CDC director Rochelle Walensky momentum to usher in bureaucratic changes at the Atlanta-based agency.
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