The State of Michigan recently terminated the contract for Health Management Services (“HMS”). HMS was the Texas company that was hired by the State to manage their estate recovery program. The contract with HMS provided that they were paid on a contingency basis.
With that relationship ended, the estate recovery program will now be managed internally, specifically through the Mass Torts and Probate Unit, a division of the Third Party Liability Division of the Medical Services Administration.
The change was effective March 1, 2013.
I spoke to the manager of the Mass Torts and Probate Unit about this change. What I learned was:
- The State implemented the change as a result of dissatisfaction with the quality of the customer service provided by HMS. The State believed, among other things, too many people contacting HMS with questions were being given unsatisfactory responses – such as “I don’t know.”
- Questions about estate recovery will now go initially to the Medicaid Beneficiary Help Line: 1-800-642-3195. If they are unable to provide adequate information, the matter will be referred to someone within the Mass Torts and Probate Unit.
- The estate recovery questionnaire and other forms have been modified to be less confusing. The new forms are now posted at mich.gov/estaterecovery.
- No policy changes are being implemented in relation to this change.
At least for now, this change will have little substantive effect on the estate recovery process.