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W.Va. Medicaid contract exemption facing repeal

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- West Virginia's Medicaid program could lose the authority to oversee the awarding of its contracts.

The joint Legislative Oversight Commission on Health and Human Resources Accountability endorsed a bill Monday to repeal that power.

A 2009 law has allowed the Bureau of Medical Services to bypass the state's normal contract bidding process. But a legislative review found in August that the agency had fumbled the handling of one of West Virginia's most lucrative contracts.

The bureau twice botched the bid request phase for hiring a company to oversee Medicaid claims and records. Since the audit, the agency has awarded the nearly $250 million contract to Molina Medicaid Solutions. But another bidder, Xerox, is protesting that outcome as unfair.

The draft bill recommended Monday will appear during the upcoming regular session.