JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — An Indiana company hired to assess the needs of thousands of Missouri Medicaid patients has quit after barely three months on the job following numerous complaints about its service and disagreements with state officials.
The CEO of SynCare LLC told The Associated Press on Thursday that the contract she viewed as a mission to help the disabled and elderly had become a public relations debacle in part, because of the state’s actions and was no longer worth continuing.
State officials countered that SynCare quit because it was about to be fired and had failed to live up to a contract worth up to $5.5 million annually to determine whether Medicaid recipients qualified for home-based health care and help with performing daily activities such as cooking, bathing and getting dressed.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said Thursday that it will immediately begin taking over the duties that were supposed to be performed by SynCare, which so far had been paid $1.3 million. The agency previously handled the state’s caseload prior to hiring a private company.
The quick end to the contract marks a setback for Missouri, which hired SynCare under a 2010 state law that had been intended to save the state money and avoid potential conflicts of interest in which home-care providers also conducted the assessments of the amount of care clients needed. SynCare, based in Indianapolis, was selected to make independent determinations about the in-home care needs of patients.
On its first day of work in mid-May, SynCare’s customer call center was overwhelmed by about 1,000 telephone calls, resulting in unusually long waits for patients and care providers dialing in. During the ensuing months, complaints also were raised about delays in receiving service.
Copyright The Associated Press