CMS awards $111 million contract for Next Generation Desktop app

By Bernie Monegain
01:34 PM

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has awarded a $111 million contract to Indianapolis-based National Government Services, Inc. to support the Next Generation Desktop (NGD) over the next five years.

National Government Services is a subsidiary of WellPoint, a Fortune 50 company, and one of the largest health benefits companies in the nation. NGS has held the contract since the application was put in place.

[See also: Verizon, Northrop Grumman, NGS help CMS battle fraud.]

The NGD is the desktop application used by all Medicare Contact Center Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) to answer millions of calls from Medicare beneficiaries. The application reduces the amount of time required to help Medicare beneficiaries and improves the CSRs ability to provide more timely and accurate service for inquiries, company executives said.

One key function of the application is to allow CSRs to access information the beneficiary may have previously entered into the Medicare Website, For example, if someone had been in the process of choosing a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, but needed assistance, that individual could simply call 1-800-Medicare and the CSR would have the information previously entered at their fingertips.

"Data integration is a critical innovation in the healthcare IT arena," said Tim Masheck, vice president of health information technology at National Government Services. "Such technology enables those on the front lines to provide better patient care and a more pleasant experience overall. National Government Services is proud that we were called upon yet again to ensure the integrity of this critical application."

[See also: NGS will have chance to bid on VA technology contracts.]

1-800-Medicare received 26 million calls last year with approximately 3,500 CSRs at the call center using the NGD desktop tool to assist callers with their Medicare inquiries.

"This award is an important signal of CMS's continuing confidence in National Government Services and a key step in our efforts to further grow our business," said National Government Services President Sandra Miller. "We look forward to helping CMS continue to innovate and provide better service to all of its 46 million Medicare beneficiaries."