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Archives: KHI News Service

On January 1, 2017, the KHI News Service became part of KCUR public radio’s new initiative, the Kansas News Service. The Kansas News Service will continue to cover health policy news and broaden its scope to include education and politics. All stories produced by the former KHI News Service are archived here. Stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to KHI.org.

Kansas signs $215M contract for new Medicaid computer system

By Andy Marso | August 17, 2016

Computer giant Hewlett Packard Enterprises has entered into a $215 million contract with the state of Kansas to upgrade a Medicaid computer system that tracks patient claims payments to providers.

According to a recent news release from the California-based company, Hewlett Packard Enterprises, or HPE, will work with partners that include Kansas City-based Cerner to overhaul the state’s Medicaid Management Information System (MMIS) to meet new federal standards.

“HPE will strengthen the state’s ability to manage Medicaid policies and finances across disparate programs and agencies,” the news release said.

Photo by Hewlett Packard Enterprises The Kansas Department of Health and Environment and Hewlett Packard Enterprises recently announced a $215 million contract to upgrade a Medicaid computer system that tracks patient claims payments to providers.

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Angela de Rocha, a spokeswoman for state agencies, said the state will fund about 20 percent of the project with the federal government picking up the rest.

Kansas officials signed a contract of similar value in 2011 with Accenture to replace the computer system used to determine Medicaid eligibility with an upgrade called the Kansas Eligibility Enforcement System, or KEES.

That system went live last year after significant delays. It has failed to live up to the original promises of processing speed and accuracy, which has contributed to a backlog of thousands of Medicaid applications.

Developers who worked on KEES expressed concerns in emails about the program’s ability to communicate with the state’s current MMIS, which eventually will be replaced by the new HPE software.

The HPE software, known as the Kansas Modular Medicaid System, will take approved applications and enter them into a database of the state’s more than 400,000 Medicaid recipients. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the three private insurance companies that administer Kansas Medicaid, or KanCare, will use it to track and pay Medicaid claims to providers.

In the news release, HPE promises to deliver a product that is more flexible than the current system. It said the new system has the potential to swap out individual portions of the program and update them to interact with other software without taking down the whole system.

“Kansas will have a new information technology foundation for our Medicaid enterprise that will allow us to communicate targeted, actionable information from more sources in near real time to decision-makers,” KDHE secretary Susan Mosier said in a statement included in the news release. “This foundation will support changes over time to meet future program needs. By selecting HPE, we have partnered with an innovative company that understands the unique technological challenges of Medicaid delivery.”

KHI News Service requested information from KDHE about the funding sources for the HPE project. That request is pending.

HPE also said that Cerner, which specializes in electronic medical records software, will ensure the new system can organize Medicaid claims data from multiple sources into a single patient record.

A Cerner program called HealtheEDW will give system users at KDHE quicker access to data related to patient care and health outcomes, assisting the state’s efforts to steer Medicaid patients toward the right treatments at the right time.

Zane Burke, president of Cerner, said partnering with HPE on the upgrade will create an “unprecedented opportunity” to improve the delivery of health care services through KanCare.

“Historically, states collected analysis based on retroactive claims data,” Burke said in the news release. “Working with HPE, Kansas’ Medicaid program will be able to produce intelligence based on claims plus clinical and financial information in near-real time.”