The Alabama Medicaid Agency has initiated a new program to consolidate medical information about its patients in one computer file, which agency director Carol Steckel said Tuesday will help doctors prescribe the right course of treatment.
But the $3.7 million contract was awarded to a Texas company whose CEO stepped down last year in an ethics probe. And questions were raised about the performance of Affiliated Computer Services in other states and its consulting contract with Gov. Bob Riley's former chief of staff, Toby Roth.
Steckel said the two-year contract will begin in 11 counties and will allow the agency to create electronic health records for Medicaid patients. The records will allow doctors to see the results of previous laboratory tests and help them in ordering treatment for patients, particularly those with chronic ailments like diabetes, she said.
The contract also requires ACS to create a system for state health and human service agencies to share information on common clients.
"What we are doing is to be solely focused on what a Medicaid patient needs to live at the highest level of health at the lowest cost," Steckel said.
But questions for Steckel at a news conference centered on problems ACS has had in other states, and the resignation of former CEO Mark King. ACS Senior Vice President Will Saunders also was asked if the company had a conflict because of Roth's work for ACS as a consultant. Roth served as Riley's chief of staff for four years before resigning in September.
Saunders said Roth was hired after the contract had mostly been negotiated to help the company understand Alabama.