AUGUSTA (AP) – Maine’s Health and Human Services Department is outsourcing management of its Medicaid computer system to a Pennsylvania-based company, the Baldacci administration said. Negotiations with Unisys Corp. are expected to be completed this month.

The Blue Bell, Pa., company is one of three vendors that submitted proposals to the state to manage the information system for MaineCare, as the state’s Medicaid system is known. The others were ACS State Healthcare LLC of Atlanta and First Health Services Corp. of Glen Allen, Va.

DHHS Commissioner Brenda Harvey said selection of Unisys “is an important step toward establishing a federally certified system and moving toward the fiscal agent environment, where an outside vendor manages the claims management system.”

Many of Maine social service providers were left without reimbursement checks or with incorrect payments after the state switched to a new system to handle Medicaid claims in January 2005.

Most of those problems have been cleared up, but the new system will also help bring the state into compliance with federal DHHS regulations, state officials say.

Maine’s contract with Unisys needs approval of the federal government.

Unisys now provides similar fiscal agent services to West Virginia, Louisiana and New Jersey, according to Maine officials. It also has been selected to develop a Medicaid information management system in Idaho.

Unisys said its Medicaid outsourcing services serve the needs of more than 4 million recipients.

The outsourcing of MaineCare comes as Gov. John Baldacci calls for new and streamlined ways to manage state government, saying the current model is too expensive.

The move would displace about 100 state jobs, but DHHS officials say many of the affected employees could be rehired by the contractor.

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