CMS stems the tide of competitive sourcing

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services retained all federal employees affected by its fiscal 2003 competitive sourcing studies, according to an agency report. And the agency expects its IT staff'already a skeletal staff because of outsourcing'to escape more competition.

CMS, an agency in the Health and Human Services Department, plans to study 13 job categories covering 210 positions next year for possible outsourcing, but those plans could be revised, an agency official who asked not to be identified said today.

In a statement announcing the report earlier this month, Leslie Norwalk, CMS acting deputy administrator and chief operating officer, said, 'Each of the 17 competitive sourcing studies conducted during FY 2003 showed that it was more cost effective to maintain the function in house than to outsource it.'

The 2003 studies targeted 309 positions, 84 of which were in the Office of Information Services. The competition studies are part of the Office of Management and Budget's A-76 Revised Circular, intended to make government more efficient.

The competitive sourcing studies included computing services and database management, data systems analysis and project management.

Additionally, 120 employees working in two areas that were contracted out in other actions were reassigned within the health care agency.

Next year, CMS expects to study general accounting activities, statistical analysis activities, contract administration, program marketing and outreach activities, and general staff support activities.

No 2004 studies involve IT positions. 'Many IT jobs in CMS have already been outsourced, and many of the remaining positions are needed to oversee the contractors and provide CMS with needed in-house expertise,' the official said.

CMS this year contracted out to California Medical Review Inc. of San Francisco for Medicare+Choice payment validation services at a cost of $1.7 million to replace 68 federal jobs. And 52 programming services jobs previously done by CMS employees were added to an existing IT contract with Lockheed Martin Corp. when it was reissued this year.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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