Kansas replacing contractor handling Medicaid applications

Kansas is replacing a private contractor that inspired years of complaints about backlogs and other problems in its handling of applications for the state’s Medicaid health coverage for the needy.

The state Department of Health and Environment in August signed a six-year contract worth nearly $135 million with New Jersey-based company Conduent to handle Medicaid applications starting next year, The Kansas City Star reports. Conduent will replace Maximus, based in the Washington, D.C., area.

Former Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration hired Maximus in 2016, hoping to make processing Medicaid applications more efficient and less costly. The company instead received poor marks for its processing and customer-service call center. Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly last year announced plans to hire 300 new state workers to take over the most complicated applications.

Maximus referred calls about the decision to the state health department.

Conduent has had its own troubles, including a lawsuit alleging Medicaid fraud for overbilling dentists in Texas. It was settled last year, and the company said it involved allegations that arose under previous owners.

Conduent operates in all 50 states and 22 countries, according to the bid it submitted to Kansas officials. It supplies Medicaid processing and customer service for 17 states, including Missouri.

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