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Obamacare 'Back End' Contractor Also Runs Troubled Medicare Website

8:36 AM, Dec 19, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
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While some of the website problems are apparent to users, more serious problems remain to be resolved behind the scenes in the MAC’s workflow management. David Vaughan, Jurisdiction H project manager for Novitas, told OHA that the system changeover caused a delay of a week or so during which Novitas was unable to use its imaging system. This created backlogs in processing documentation related to medical reviews and appeals. Although the backlog has been reduced, the problems have not been fully resolved.

Unlike what the government has done with Healthcare.gov, however, Novitas maintains a detailed webpage listing the ongoing issues with the Jurisdiction H site.  The page asks users to "[p]lease pardon our dust as we continue to squash bugs and implement improvements on our new internet site." More than a dozen problems are listed as unresolved as late as Thursday, December 11, the last time the page was updated.  The issues range from web pages not loading properly to duplicate enrollment determination letters to long wait times for customer service.  Another item noted is the planned Interactive Fee Schedule Calculator which is still unavailable.  The status of that issue indicates that "[r]esolution of issues encountered since 9/30/13 is expected by mid-January" 2014.

When asked for comment on the December 4 Oklahoma Hospital Association report, a spokesperson for Diversified Service Options, Novitas's parent company, wrote:

It is not a news story but an association update, so I have no comment on the Novitas website operation facts as they are stated. As mentioned by OHA, Novitas has been very transparent and proactive with providers, and listed the status of the operational problems.

Inquiries to HHS/CMS about the Jurisdiction H website, as well as the original emergency, no-bid contract with Novitas for Obamacare-related financial services, continue to go unanswered.

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