Medicare Contracting Reform:

Opportunities and Challenges in Contracting for Claims Administration Services

GAO-01-918T: Published: Jun 28, 2001. Publicly Released: Jun 28, 2001.

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Discussions about how to reform and modernize the Medicare Program have, in part, focused on whether the structure that was adopted in 1965 is optimal today. Questions have been raised about whether the program could benefit from changes to the way that Medicare's claims processing contractors are chosen and the jobs they do. Medicare could benefit from full and open competition and its relative flexibility to promote better performance and accountability. If the current limits on Medicare contracting authority are removed, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services could (1) select contractors on a competitive basis from a broader array of entities capable of performing needed program activities, (2) issue contracts for discrete program functions to improve contractor performance through specialization, (3) pay contractors based on how well they perform rather than simply reimbursing them for their costs, and (4) terminate poor performers more efficiently.

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