A contract between the Department of Social Services that came under fire from House Republicans has been restructured.
The contract with Boston-based Public Consulting Group outlined how it would look for people receiving state assistance that could be shifted to federal disability payments. Republicans said the original arrangement would have reached out to too many people, including children and those who could still work, and said it would have moved people off of welfare that requires recipients to actively look for jobs to a program where having a job could result in lowered benefits.
Representative Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City) said documentation of the company’s proposed procedures raised concerns it would use aggressive tactics to get people to switch programs. He’s pleased with the new contract.
“For kids, who should not be in this process, they are no longer part of this contract, PCG will not be making cold calls to individuals, PCG will not be making any threats to those people already categorized as ‘disabled’ if they refuse to cooperate with this and PCG has agreed that they will have all phone calls recorded so that we can spot check what they’re doing.”
The new contract will limit the scope of the company’s search to people with disabilities and serious medical conditions.
The original contract would have also sought to move people whose transfer might have had to go to an appeals process because it would have been less clear the shift would be appropriate.
PCG will make $2,300 for every person moved off of Medicaid.
The situation came to light on a national radio program before PCG’s work began. Jones says it raises a question of whether such contracts need to be subject to legislative review earlier.
“There obviously needs to be some more oversight on these large-scale contracts that do affect thousands, if not millions, of Missourians.”
On the subject of oversight, Representative Sue Allen (R-Town and Country) says she told the Department’s representatives in a recent hearing of her Appropriations Committee she was surprised they didn’t bring the issue up.
“I do expect them to bring these issues to the committee and I had some anxt about that. That is an ongoing issue of trust … but they heard a very strong message and I think we got the good solution.”
See the House Republicans’ media conference below: