Former MO Medicaid Contractor Files for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
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Former MO Medicaid Contractor Files for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

January 24, 2011

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In a not entirely surprising move, Stephanie DeKemper, president of former Missouri Medicaid contractor SynCare, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy to help her eliminate roughly $5.9 million in debts, according to court documents. DeKemper’s Chapter 7 petition also listed $793,661 in assets, suggesting that her business venture spiraled out of her control much faster than she had expected.

STLToday.com reports that DeKemper managed to rack up so much debt when she purchased SynCare in 2010 with a loan from her former employer, the large healthcare company Centene. Of DeKemper’s total debt, about $2 million is from that loan; another $266,735, it seems, comes from a loan from Regions bank on which Centene is listed as a co-debtor.

Despite the ready availability of capital when DeKemper began her venture, sources suggest that things began to go downhill quickly.

Working with Medicaid

Shortly after taking over SynCare, it seems, DeKemper secured a $5.5 million contract that would charge her company with assessing some 53,000 Missouri Medicaid recipients for their care needs. In theory, SynCare was supposed to visit people’s homes, assess whether they needed in-home or residential facility care for medical and personal upkeep, and report back to the state’s Medicaid offices.

The reasoning behind the plan was sound: research has shown that public health providers can save money by providing home care rather than bringing disabled citizens into residential care facilities.

But because of SynCare’s reported mishandling of data, much of the needed information was not reported in a timely manner, and the state ended up putting Missouri residents in homes before SynCare employees had evaluated their needs.

Sources note that the lapse occurred because SynCare was understaffed. In bankruptcy court documents, unpaid SynCare employees account for one of DeKemper’s major groups of creditors.

Shortly after beginning its contract with SynCare, Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services canceled it. It seems complaints and objections to the company had poured in from citizens and lawmakers throughout Missouri.

DeKemper’s assets entering her Chapter 7 bankruptcy case reportedly include two houses (one co-owned by her son) and a 2009 Mercedes Benz, for which she still has 11 monthly payments of $924 each remaining.


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