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An NPR investigation has found irregularities in the process by which the Trump administration awarded a multi-million dollar contract to a Pittsburgh company to collect key data about COVID-19 from the country's hospitals. 

The contract is at the center of a controversy over the administration's decision to move that data reporting function from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — which has tracked infection information for a range of illnesses for years — to the Department of Health and Human Services.

TeleTracking Technologies, the company that won the contract, has traditionally focused on creating software for hospitals to track patient status. And there are questions about how it came to be responsible for gathering data in the midst of a pandemic.

Among the findings of the NPR investigation: 

  • The Department of Health and Human Services initially characterized the contract with TeleTracking as a no-bid contract. When asked about that, HHS said there was a "coding error" and that the contract was actually competitively bid.
  • The process by which HHS awarded the contract is normally used for innovative scientific research...
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