HHS renews $10.2M TeleTracking contract for Covid-19 data collection

The Department of Health and Human Services renewed its controversial contract with TeleTracking Technologies for Covid-19 data collection. After awarding it the initial, $10.2 million contract in April, the agency will pay another $10.2 million to renew it for another six months, according to NPR.

At the beginning of the pandemic, hospitals and laboratories were directed to send Covid-19 data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the National Healthcare Safety Network, as they’ve done for past outbreaks.  In July, that suddenly changed, with the Trump Administration directing hospitals to instead send their data to the Department of Health and Human Services.

TeleTracking Technologies, a Pittsburgh-based health IT company that makes software to help hospitals manage patient flow, was tasked with managing this. The company had been given a few small contracts under the Department of Veterans Affairs, but nothing of the scope of what HHS was requesting.

The new site — called HHS Protect — came under scrutiny after inconsistencies were found between state-reported data and federal data on how many hospital beds were occupied. Initial delays in the when the data was updated also caused problems.

A U.S. House subcommittee is also taking a closer look at the contract itself and how it was awarded. Initially, HHS said it was a no-bid contract, but later said it was competitively bid, NPR reported.

Photo Credit: Maksim Tkachenko, Getty Images

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