UMass Medical School to lay off roughly 65 employees

Worcester-based University of Massachusetts Medical School plans to lay off approximately 65 employees after the school opted not to renew a contract providing preauthorization services to MassHealth, according to the Telegram & Gazette.

Officials said the layoffs will occur because the school's Commonwealth Medicine division opted not to renew a contract involving prior authorization services for state Medicaid recipients provided by the division's disability and community services department, according to the report.

Mark Shelton, a spokesperson for UMass Medical School, told Becker's Hospital Review that due to the structure of MassHealth's procurement request for the services, Commonwealth Medicine "did not submit a response for the procurement request." Commonwealth Medicine had reportedly been providing the services to MassHealth since 1999.

MassHealth reportedly notified Commonwealth Medicine Feb. 28 that it issued a new contract with Optum Government Solutions, a subsidiary of  Minnetonka, Minn.-based UnitedHealthcare, effective April 15, Mr. Shelton said.

Mr. Shelton also told Becker's the roughly 65 affected employees will remain employed until at least June 30, with some employees continuing in their positions into fiscal year 2018. He also noted some employees may seek employment opportunities with Optum. Commonwealth Medicine is "encouraging affected staff to apply for any appropriate open positions at UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial and will provide resume building support and interview training for affected employees."

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