Archive for Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Recently hired Kansas Medicaid contractor settles federal fraud lawsuit

September 13, 2011, 8:50 p.m. Updated September 14, 2011, 11:34 a.m.


— A company that Gov. Sam Brownback's administration recently awarded a huge contract to help catch fraud in the Kansas Medicaid system has settled a $63.7 million whistleblower lawsuit with the U.S. Justice Department, it was announced this week.

Accenture, a technology services company, was accused of bid-rigging, taking kickbacks and fraudulently inflating the prices the government paid for computers and services.

Accenture denied any wrongdoing and said the settlement was not an admission of guilt.

The lawsuit was originally filed in the Eastern District of Arkansas by Norman Rille and Neal Roberts under whistleblower provisions of the federal False Claims Act.

In Kansas, state officials announced last month that Accenture would implement a computerized system aimed at catching fraud in the Medicaid system and making it easier to determine eligibility for people who apply for health care and other services.

State officials said the contract awarded to Accenture was $85 million to implement the Kansas Eligibility and Enforcement System and then $10 million a year to administer it for five years, for a total of $135 million.

When announcing the contract, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer said, “KEES is designed with the entire State of Kansas in mind. As the electronic front door to state services, this system will improve the eligibility process and identify significant savings for the state. We will achieve program reliability and integrity across all facets of health and human services in the State of Kansas.” The announcement of the contract was made at a news conference held by Colyer and several members of Brownback's Cabinet.

Asked if the Arkansas case would cause any reassessment of the contract between Accenture and the state of Kansas, Brownback's spokeswoman Sherriene Jones-Sontag said, "The state has a competitive bid process and we hope to save millions through fighting fraud, waste and abuse."

In the Arkansas case, federal officials accused Accenture of accepting kickbacks after it recommended certain hardware and software to the government. The Justice Department also accused Accenture of fraudulently jacking up prices and rigging bids for federal information technology contracts.

“Kickbacks and bid rigging undermine the integrity of the federal procurement process,” said Assistant Attorney General Tony West of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.

The U.S. attorney for the Eastern Arkansas District, Christopher R. Thayer, said Accenture was taking away much-needed revenue from the government.

"Fraudulent business practices that steal hard earned and much needed tax dollars from appropriate use will not be tolerated,” Thayer said.

Under the whistleblower law, Rille and Roberts are to receive a portion of the settlement, but the Justice Department said the amount hasn’t yet been determined.

Accenture’s statement said the company chose to settle rather than engage in a lengthy court battle.

“The agreement is not an admission of liability by Accenture. Accenture continues to vigorously deny that there was any wrongdoing,” the company said.

The company said the settlement amount “will not materially impact our results of operations or financial position.”

Accenture noted that the settlement won’t restrict its business with the federal government “in any way.” The company announced on Aug. 11 that the Justice Department had selected Accenture as one of 20 businesses that are part of a $1.1 billion contract for information technology services.

The statement added that the federal government understood there were “alliance relationships” in the information technology industry, which the company said benefits customers and vendors.

The company said it disclosed its agreements with vendors in proposals made to clients in government agencies.

“Accenture remains confident that our agreements and dealings with our alliance partners and vendors were appropriate and lawful,” the company said.

Accenture spokesman James E. McAvoy said in an email the company settled simply to save money.

“This settlement is a business decision — not an admission of any wrongdoing. Considering the costs of litigation and the complexity of the case, Accenture and (the Justice Department) agreed to settle now and avoid the additional time, inconvenience and expenses that would come with protracted litigation,” McAvoy said.

A spokesman for the Justice Department declined comment Monday.


chootspa 6 years, 5 months ago

No doubt. I'm sure glad Brownie picked them to protect us from fraud!

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 5 months ago

This is truly disturbing. The State of Kansas is doing business with a private firm that "settled" to the tune of $63 million on a charge of overbilling another government. Does anyone else lack confidence in the billings this firm has submitted to our state? I'd like to know if this settlement will trigger a review of the billings received so far from this firm and heightened review of future billings. As far as their comment about their behavior goes, I'm sure the jails are full of people who "didn't do it."

Jean Robart 6 years, 5 months ago

This really gives me a warm fuzzy feeling---not

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

Very interesting (but disturbing.) Thanks for the link.

costello 6 years, 5 months ago

Very interesting. And that document is 4 years old now. Wonder how many unhappy customers could be added at this point.

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 5 months ago

Kansas is basically just passing through federal money for "KEES", too.

It is being paid for 90% by the feds under the ARRA program that is funding it. Brownback just loves to spend that stimulus money.

Gedanken 6 years, 5 months ago

Wow - yet we continue to have relations with this company. Someone check the books!

Bob Forer 6 years, 5 months ago

Yet more evidence that our state is being led by a total jackass. I challenge any Brownback groupies to defend his decision on this beauty.

Any takers?

I didn't think so.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

What's the big deal? This sounds like standard operating procedure for good Republicans doing business with the gummint.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

But we can all be thankful that Sam's Texas prayers were answered.

Bob Forer 6 years, 5 months ago

I would have to agree with you. Sam's sanctimony makes him one uber contemptible p r i c k.

Bob Forer 6 years, 5 months ago

I would have to agree with you. Sam's sanctimony makes him one uber contemptible p r i c k.

somedude20 6 years, 5 months ago

I just saved 15% by switching to GEICO!!!! I do not like Sam. I do not like Sam when I eat ham! Heck, I don't like Sam so much that I now dislike anyone named Pam. I would like to put Sam in a pan and dump the cooked parts in a dam. I don't like Sam

Paul R Getto 6 years, 5 months ago

$63.7 million is a lot of "We didn't do it, but here's some money to make you shut up and go away." I agree that "Brownie's doin' a heck of a job." Keep up the good work, Muscular Sam. Was your wierd little businessman jesus an embezzler too? Hmmmmm...............Next time get your minions to do more research before they sign someone up.

somebodynew 6 years, 5 months ago

costello - WE didn't hire them. They just suddenly appeared and were annointed by Sam and the gang, who said here have our money.

Maybe you could call the Friends With Benefits ?? (except we are the ones getting .......)

Cliff Sperry 6 years, 5 months ago

(I borrowed this observation) At least they will know what to look for (fraud).:)

Evan Ridenour 6 years, 5 months ago

A company that commits fraud is hired to prevent fraud.


Jan Rolls 6 years, 5 months ago

If this doesn't prove that sam is the biggest jackass in kansas nothing will.

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