A whistle-blowing employee at an Obamacare facility says employees are being paid to do virtually nothing, and at times 1,800 data entry processors are present to work on 30 health-care applications.
The report from KMOV-TV in St. Louis features an employee of Serco, a data-processing company with a $1.2 billion contract for Obamacare work. The worker, whose voice is disguised to protect his identity, said there were “some weeks that a data entry person would not process a single application.”
Instead, employees are “staring at computer screens with little or no work to do” and are told to “sit at their computers and hit the refresh button every 10 minutes.”
Fox News reported Serco was given $1.2 billion to hire 1,500 workers to process paper applications for coverage.
The employee said the company was being paid to have people on staff, not necessarily accomplish work.
Moreover, he added, the company wants to hire more people “even though we still don’t have work.”
The company declined to respond to the station’s request for comment. The government agency handling the contract, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, gave a generic response that funds are spent appropriately and staff reviewed regularly.
“Serco is committed to make sure federal funds are spent appropriately, and the number of Serco staff is reviewed on a regular basis,” the company said.
But Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., was concerned enough to wonder how it possibly could “be responsible” for a contractor to believe a call center worker would sign up one or two people over a lengthy period of time, KMOV reported.
“We need to look carefully,” he said.
The Washington Post previously reported that the parent company, Serco Group, was under investigation by the British government for allegedly over-billing the government by “tens of millions of pounds.”
The company is contracted to monitor offenders on parole and those released on bail.
Back then, the Obama administration defended the company.
“Serco is a highly skilled company that has a proven track record in providing cost-effective services to numerous other federal agencies,” said Brian Cook, a spokesman for Medicare. “The company has provided exceptional records management and processing support to other federal agencies, similar to work they will do for the marketplace.”