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HHS Renews $10.2 Million Contract For COVID-19 Data Tracking Company

“The Trump administration has renewed a controversial contract with a Pittsburgh company to collect key COVID-19 data from hospitals.

The Department of Health and Human Services decided to award a second $10.2 million, six-month contract to TeleTracking Technologies even though Congressional committees are investigating the process by which the contract was awarded and the HHS Inspector General is looking at how the company is securing the information it is gathering, an NPR Investigation has learned.

Back in the Spring, TeleTracking was awarded a contract to collect COVID-19 data from the nation's hospitals despite no previous experience working on this sort of data collection. And TeleTracking's system has been plagued by errors and inconsistencies from the outset.

The unusual process by which HHS gave TeleTracking the work has drawn the interest of government investigators. The HHS Inspector General's office is investigating whether TeleTracking included “adequate cybersecurity controls” to protect confidential data, according to HHS OIG spokeswoman Tesia Williams. The Federal Register is also soliciting comments on behalf of HHS about the burden placed on hospitals who are required to submit their COVID data through Teletracking as opposed to the CDC system.”

Dina Temple-Raston and Tim Mak report for NPR October 2, 2020.