Consultant to oversee Medicaid reporting tool

DENVER — A consultant will be paid up to $912,280 over the next five years to create and manage a new, online cost-reporting tool for hospitals to use as part of the 4-year-old Medicaid Hospital Provider Fee program.

The state Department of Health Care Policy and Financing hired Boston-based Public Consulting Group Inc., a company with offices in Denver, to create the online tool, said Marc Williams, a spokesman for the department. Public Consulting Group will be paid 50 percent from federal funds and 50 percent from state funds, Williams said.

State legislators approved the hospital provider fee in 2009 as part of the broader plan to have more poor people covered by Medicaid, as well as to be eligible for more Medicaid reimbursement from the federal government. Local hospitals, as well as the Colorado Hospital Association industry trade group, support the hospital provider fee program.

But the state auditor’s office, in an audit issued in October, said the program uses self-reported hospital information, which is not always accurate, consistent or reliable. The new online tool can address those issues, Williams said. It was planned before the audit came out, he said.

In the first year, the consultant is to be paid $399,480 as a contract amount — mainly to create the new online tool, Williams said. In subsequent years, the consultant can receive up to $128,200 per year to manage the tool, he said.

Workers at the Department of Health Care Policy also have collaborated with hospitals and the Colorado Hospital Association since the program started to try to improve reporting.

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