SynCare ends Missouri Medicaid contract

Thursday, September 1, 2011 | 1:58 p.m. CDT; updated 3:03 p.m. CDT, Thursday, September 1, 2011

 JEFFERSON CITY — An Indiana company has ended its contract to screen Missouri Medicaid recipients after numerous complaints about its job performance.

Indianapolis-based SynCare began working in Missouri in mid-May under a contract worth as much as $5.5 million annually to determine whether Medicaid recipients qualify for home-based medical care and aid with daily activities. The company provided The Associated Press with a copy of state letter Thursday confirming it had withdrawn from the contract.

The decision comes after numerous consumers complained of delays in receiving home services and unusually long waits to speak with SynCare representatives on the telephone. On Tuesday, Medicaid recipients and home-care providers held a series of news conferences around the state complaining about SynCare. On Wednesday, a Missouri House committee questioned state officials over the contract.

SynCare CEO Stephanie DeKemper acknowledged to the AP on Wednesday that the company had fallen short of its standards, but she said the state should share responsibility because it grossly underestimated the amount of work the company would be doing.

On Thursday, DeKemper provided the AP with a copy of a letter — dated Wednesday — in which the Department of Health and Senior Services confirmed that SynCare had withdrawn from the Missouri Medicaid contract.

Department Director Margaret Donnelly released a written statement Thursday saying agency personnel would immediately begin to take over the duties performed by SynCare.

"It is clear that the company is not able to meet the terms and conditions of their contract," Donnelly said. "The Department remains committed to ensuring that Missourians receive the services they need in a timely and efficient manner."

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