Agency overseeing controversial ACA contractor accused of stonewalling Congress

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by Chris Nagus / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on June 3, 2014 at 9:13 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 4 at 8:49 AM

(KMOV.com) – Lawmakers are still demanding answers from a government agency that awarded a $1.2 billion contract to a company where employees say they are being paid to do nothing.

Serco was awarded a $1.2 billion contract by the Centers For Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to process paper applications from those seeking to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act. The company opened processing centers in Wentzville, Kentucky, and Arkansas.

Several employees have told News 4 there has been little or no work to do. One worker said they were paid to play games all day and that very few applications have been processed.

Lawmakers have been demanding answers, but said they have not received one from CMS. Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., told News 4 she has asked for answers from the Health and Human Services inspector general, but has yet to hear back.

Senators Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., demanded answers from CMS, but so far have been stonewalled.

Blunt and Alexander gave CMS until the end of May to respond to questions. That deadline has come and gone.

Congressman Blaine Leuktemeyer, R-Mo., whose district includes the facility in Wentzville, said he sent a letter to CMS but has yet to receive a sufficient replay.

“This is a serious situation where if what the whistleblower is telling us is correct we have a company that is defrauding the federal government, defrauding our tax dollars and not providing services in a cost effective way that needs to be managed by CMS. They aren't doing their job as well, we need to get to the bottom of this,” Leuktemeyer said.

Leuktemeyer told News 4 he sent another letter CMS, which prompted to agency to acknowledge it received the first letter.

Serco told News 4 it has processed over one million documents between October and April, but CMS said one document does not equal one application.

Several Serco employees have said the company is now circulating old incomplete applications between departments to create the illusion of work.

CMS told News 4 more than 3,000 people have been hired to process paper applications. The agency also said it closely monitors staffing levels and it feels the current balance of staffing is appropriate.

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