Managers of the traditional Medicare program may let bad program administration vendors keep their contracts just because changing vendors is so difficult.
Gloria Jarmon, an official at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS OIG), testified about “Medicare Administration Contractor” (MAC) procurement hassles Wednesday at a Medicare oversight hearing organized by the House Ways and Means health subcommittee.
Health policy specialists often refer to the traditional Medicare program as a “government-run” program, but the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the agency in charge of Medicare, hires private administrators — MACs — to administer the program.
When CMS hires a MAC, it agrees to use the MAC for one “base year,” and it offers to continue to use the MAC for four “option years.”
In theory, CMS can decline to use one or more contract extension options if a MAC fails to meet program performance standards.