Medicare, Medicaid standardize on Siebel call-center software

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is expanding its use of Siebel eHealthcare software in its effort to unify and modernize 76 call centers nationwide.

The software will be deployed by AdminaStar Federal of Indianapolis as part of an ongoing contract to create a unified application for handling customer service inquiries. The contract is worth $29.5 million.

After full deployment, CMS and its call-center contractors will use software from San Mateo, Calif.-based Siebel Systems to answer more than 40 million calls per year.

CMS first began using Siebel software in October 2002 as part of its Next Generation Desktop program. Before initial deployment, 59 different contractors managed the agency's call centers, each with its own computer system.

The Next Generation Desktop program aims to provide all call-center representatives with a single point of access to multiple information sources and ensure consistent adherence to policies across all CMS centers.

"Ultimately, the goal is to provide better service to people calling in with questions about their Medicare and Medicaid benefits," said Christine Viera, director of product marketing at Siebel Public Sector.

The move to Siebel software is considered significant, because it is not a custom-built application. John Kost, managing vice president of Gartner research, said applications such as Siebel eHealthcare software allow human services agencies to upgrade customer support with easily deployable, low-risk solutions.

"Customer relationship management providers are beginning to deliver products that can provide effective case management systems to streamline operations and provide for a more citizen-centric model," he said.

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