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News : TennCare Scraps Another Contract
Nashville, TN, USA, July 6, 2015 -- TennCare has replaced the vendor that ran a problem-plagued call center for state residents checking on their Medicaid eligibility.
The state awarded a contract this year to Automated Health Systems Inc. to run the Tennessee Health Connection through 2018. Previously, Cognosante LLC held a three-year contract to operate the call center.
State residents had complained that the call center could not answer their questions, and the association that represents Tennessee nursing homes had notified TennCare it was not processing resident applications in a timely manner.
"This transition to a new call center vendor is another example of the state continuously improving processes and customer experience and holding our contracted vendors accountable," said Kelly Gunderson, a spokesperson for TennCare. "This transition was seamless to our applicants and members and will result in improved customer service for our callers."
The call center contract is separate from the computer system that Northrop Grumman was supposed to build for TennCare to determine Medicaid eligibility according to new income guidelines.
TennCare canceled that contract and is in the process of finding another vendor. Tennessee's government has a history of dealing with failed computer systems across state agencies.
The responsibilities of the service center, the Tennessee Health Connection, included answering calls from people seeking Medicaid coverage who had applied on healthcare.gov, as well as processing the paper documents sent by nursing homes. But the call center failed to adequately perform its duties.
The state wound up taking punitive actions, levying a fine against Cognosante. Before the state set up the call center, state employees within the Tennessee Department of Human Services handled TennCare applications and answered people's questions.
Gunderson said TennCare and Cognosante mutually agreed to terminate their contract, and that the transfer of duties for operating the call center occurred in June.
The federal government is also covering half the cost of the contract with Automated Health Systems, which is based in Pittsburgh.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About Automated Health Systems:
Automated Health Systems, Inc. is a provider of health care services for low-income families and communities.
TennCare is the state Medicaid program in the U.S. state of Tennessee.
Published: Tuesday, July 7, 2015