(KMOV.com) – Lawmakers are demanding answers from the government agency that awarded a $1.2 billion contract to a company where employees claim they are being paid to do no work.
Serco received $1.2 billion in taxpayer money to process Affordable Care applications. A company executive told Congress Serco expected to process 6.2 million applications and the company opened processing centers in Wentzville, Arkansas, and Kentucky to handle the expected workload.
Several Serco employees have told News 4 there has been very little work to do. Workers have said they have played games to pass the time and that the company has been passing applications, many incomplete or with errors, between departments to create the illusion of work.
One employee said Serco’s Vice President recently visited the Wentzville facility and revealed the company has only processed 300,000 applications, far fewer than what executives had expected.
Lawmakers have been demanding answers from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), the agency that awarded Serco’s contract, but so far they said the agency has been stonewalling them.
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. and Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tn. told News 4 they have yet to receive concrete answers from CMS. Rep. Blaine Leutkemeyer, R-Mo. whose district includes the Wentzville facility said he has also been stonewalled and called the lack of transparency “troubling.”
Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. asked the Health and Human Services Inspector General to investigate the claims made by employees. McCaskill’s office told News 4 it received a letter from the agency saying the allegations would be forwarded for review.
Despite the workers allegations, employees said the company is still hiring. CMS said Serco is in the process of resolving problems with online and paper applications. The agency also said it is monitoring the company’s staff levels and believe such levels are appropriate. However, CMS has not disclosed how many applications have been processed or a copy of Serco’s contract; the agency is also refusing to answer allegations raised by whistleblowers on camera.