$10.2M HHS contract for hospital reporting of coronavirus cases under the microscope: 5 details

The federal government awarded TeleTracking a $10.2 million contract on March 27 to provide a portal for hospitals to report COVID-19 data. NPR took a look at details of the contract and why HHS is trying to extend it.

Five things to know:

1. HHS originally defined the contract as a "sole-source contract" meaning that there weren't bids for the deal, but later HHS said the bidding process was competitive.

2.HHS said it solicited bids from six companies before awarding the contract to TeleTracking. Names of other bidders were not revealed, but NPR said it reached out to 20 hospital workflow management and infection control data companies that said they had submitted bids.

3. HHS said it anticipates needing to extend the multimillion dollar contract with TeleTracking; the current six-month contract ends in September.

4. Congressional leaders have sent a letter to TeleTracking's Chairman and CEO Michael Zamagias demanding more information about how it obtained the contract. They are looking for information about communications between the TeleTracking and HHS as well.

5. After the federal government switched data reporting from the CDC to HHS through the TeleTracking portal, the number of elements hospitals need to report jumped from 70 to 129. The TeleTracking system requires all data to be entered manually, similar to the process for entering data into the CDC's system.


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