Select Subcommittee Investigates Coronavirus Data Collection Contract
Washington, D.C. (July 28, 2020) — Today, Rep. James E. Clyburn, Chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, sent a letter to Michael Zamagias, Chairman and CEO of TeleTracking Technologies, Inc., requesting documents and information regarding the company’s data collection contract with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). On July 10, the Trump Administration directed hospitals to report coronavirus data to a portal run by this company instead of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This letter follows a joint letter to HHS on July 17 seeking information on the diversion of data away from CDC.
“For more than a decade, hospitals have used the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) to report data on infectious disease hospitalizations to the CDC,” the Chairman wrote. “On July 10, 2020, HHS sent a notice to hospitals directing them to stop reporting coronavirus hospitalization data to the NHSN site, effective July 15. Instead, hospitals were directed to begin reporting data through your company, which entered into a $10.2 million contract with the HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in April 2020. This sudden decision raises questions as to how your company received this contract and what steps you are taking to ensure the public retains full and complete access to this critical data.”
“Your company has previously been awarded a handful of small contracts with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, but your contract with HHS is nearly twenty times larger than all of your previous federal contracts combined. A public database identified this contract as a sole-source award—but that database was altered to state that the award was subject to full and open competition on July 17, 2020, the same day this Subcommittee wrote a letter to HHS seeking information on this contract.”
Experts have raised concerns that researchers, reporters, and the public may lose access to crucial data on hospitalizations as a result of this change in reporting and that HHS does not have the same expertise as CDC in analyzing and reporting this type of data.
“Delays or problems in transitioning to the new system could have serious consequences for infection control and patient care at hospitals. Administration officials have reportedly pressured hospitals to report through the new TeleTracking system by tying allocation of the coronavirus treatment Remdesivir to hospital reporting through your company’s portal. According to one report, the Department of Health and Human Services and the White House Coronavirus Task Force recently sent a letter to governors confirming that hospital reporting through the TeleTracking portal would be used to guide Remdesivir distributions.”
Click here to read today’s letter to TeleTracking Technologies, Inc.