SD Social Services snarled in mess with MedicaidA new system for tracking and processing Medicaid billings and payments that was supposed to be finished 18 months ago remains far from ready.
By: Bob Mercer, The Daily Republic
PIERRE — Legislators learned Monday that the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources is once again getting all of the tax revenue that it should from the state Department of Revenue. That was the good news.
The lawmakers also heard that a new system for tracking and processing Medicaid billings and payments that was supposed to be finished 18 months ago remains far from ready. The delay results from a contract fight between the state Department of Social Services and the private vendor hired to do the work.
Social Services Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon told the Legislature’s Government Operations and Audit Committee that her office has been in mediation with the vendor for approximately the past six months.
She said the mediation is occurring at the suggestion of the federal Medicaid center that’s providing 90 percent of the funding for the project, which began with a $72 million price tag. She didn’t give the committee any specific numbers about potential cost overruns.
Social Services terminated its contract with the vendor in October 2010 over performance, and the contractor subsequently sued the department for payment on services that had been delivered. In turn, the department filed its own claims against the vendor.
Malsam-Rysdon said she’s “very open” to whatever can be done to get the matter resolved and get a new system into place. South Dakota’s existing system is three decades old.
“I guess I don’t want to rule out any option,” she said.
Sen. Larry Tidemann, R-Brookings, asked whether the Legislature could take any action to help straighten out the problems.
“This is a very critical item,” he said. “The state has invested money. We have to move forward. We can’t slip and slide in the mud.”
On the better side, Revenue Secretary Andy Gerlach told the committee he’s put more safeguards, oversight and education into place to straighten out the breakdown that occurred in 2008 through 2010 regarding contractor excise tax revenue from large projects that was supposed to flow to DENR’s budget.
Gerlach, who was appointed to the top Revenue post last year by new Gov. Dennis Daugaard, said a retirement by a long-term member of the Revenue staff led to the problems.
He said DENR has now received approximately $1 million that was owed from 2009 and 2010.