Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Patty Murray, Ranking Member of the
Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, sent a new letter
today to the head of TeleTracking Technologies, the company the Trump
Administration recently awarded a six-month, $10.2 million contract that
creates a system to replace the CDC as the collector of COVID-19 data from
hospitals, demanding answers to better understand the circumstances in which
this contract was awarded. The Senators seek to understand why in the middle of
a rapidly escalating global pandemic, the White House and the Department of
Health and Human Services have curtailed
use of a system that has collected public health data for over 15 years. The
White House and HHS have stripped responsibilities for collecting COVID-19 data
from hospitals away from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
and instructed hospitals to send that information only to the newly established
TeleTracking system created under the contract and the HHS Protect system. As
of July 15, the White House and HHS explicitly instructed hospitals to cease
reporting COVID-19 information to the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network
(NHSN), an unprecedented decision that effectively sidelines our nation’s
leading public health experts who have collected real time data on infectious
diseases for decades.
The Senators’ letter
seeks detailed information regarding the contract including the process by
which it was awarded, the White House and HHS personnel who spearheaded these
efforts; and whether TeleTracking will be making COVID data available to the
public in a manner consistent with past practices utilized by the NHSN COVID-19
module. It is imperative that COVID-19 data being collected by the federal
government regarding hospital and Intensive Care Unit capacity, supply
shortages, and more continue to remain available to the federal agencies,
states, hospitals, and public.
The letter from Leader
Schumer and Ranking Member Murray can be found here
July 22, 2020
Chairman and Chief
336 Fourth Ave #7
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Dear Mr. Zamagias:
We write to request
information regarding the recent contract awarded to TeleTracking Technologies
Inc. (TeleTracking) by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
to create a new system for the collection and management of COVID-19 data from hospitals
across the country.
Under the six-month
contract for $10.2 million, the White House and HHS have stripped
responsibilities for collecting COVID-19 data from hospitals away from the
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and instructed hospitals to send that
information only to the newly established TeleTracking and HHS Protect systems.
This represents a sudden and significant departure from the way the federal
government has collected public health data regarding infectious diseases in
Since 2005, the CDC’s
National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) has served as a national database for
key public health information from over 25,000 health care facilities across
the United States, including during COVID-19. In response to the pandemic, the
CDC launched a COVID-19 reporting module for hospitals to share capacity and
utilization information, including patient numbers, supply shortages,
remdesivir inventory, and ventilator usage rates with the federal government.
The Trump Administration previously required hospitals and nursing homes to
report this COVID-19 related data to the CDC. Since the creation of the NHSN
COVID-19 module, a majority of U.S. hospitals have reported daily to the CDC on
COVID-19 data, and many have built their own COVID-19 data management systems
to comply with these directives.
We were alarmed to
learn that, as of July 15, hospitals were explicitly instructed to cease
reporting to the CDC network and instead directed to send information to
TeleTracking to be reported into HHS’s recently created “HHS Protect” system.
We are troubled by this misguided and dangerous decision, which sidelines our
nation’s leading public health experts and needlessly creates new reporting
systems for those on the front lines of this pandemic.
In order to better
understand the circumstances in which this contract was awarded to
TeleTracking, please provide answers to the following questions no later than
August 3rd, 2020:
- Please describe the process by which
TeleTracking obtained a $10.2 million contract award with HHS’ Office of
Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). Please also
include a list and description of all contacts made with members of the
Administration prior to the date the contract was awarded on April 6, including
White House staff.
- Did TeleTracking engage in an open
competition for the contract or was it awarded on a no-compete
basis? Please detail the contract application process and the HHS or
other federal personnel with whom TeleTracking engaged during the
- When did TeleTracking begin collecting
COVID-19 data and providing it to the federal government? Please describe
how the Administration came to engage TeleTracking to begin collecting
COVID-19 data outside of the existing reporting channels found in the
CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network.
- Has Teletracking been instructed to not
share the collected data with any entities or the public?
- Please provide a list of any entities
outside of the federal government, including any sub-contractors, that
will also be involved in Teletracking’s efforts to collect COVID-19 for
the federal government. Please detail each of these entities’ roles
in executing the contract.
- According to public reports, Insight Venture
Management purchased $37 million in Teletracking stock in 2015. Does
Insight Partners remain an investor in Teletracking? Who are the majority
owners of and investors in the company?
- Your web site indicates that you procure
some supplies from China, and some of your coding services are provided by
a sub-contractor based in India. Please provide more information on these
procurement and contract relationships, including whether any products or
services provided by foreign suppliers or sub-contractors will be involved
in your contract to collect COVID-19 data for the federal
- Please provide a copy of the full contract
for award number 75A50120C00042 with HHS’ Office of Assistant Secretary
for Preparedness and Response.
Thank you for your
attention to this matter.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator
United States Senator