03/11/2013 02:53 EDT | Updated 05/11/2013 05:12 EDT

BC PharmaCare, Medical Services Deal Extended With US Firm

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BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 16: A nurse tends to recovering patients on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital on March 16, 2010 in Birmingham, England. As the UK gears up for one of the most hotly contested general elections in recent history it is expected that that the economy, immigration, industry, the NHS and education are likely to form the basis of many of the debates. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

VICTORIA - The B.C. government has extended a contract with a U.S.-based firm to manage health insurance services.

The decision comes less than two weeks after Auditor General John Doyle delivered a critical report on the deal with Maximus to manage call centres for PharmaCare and the Medical Services Plan.

Doyle said the contract had provided some benefits, but the government hasn't shown exactly what's being achieved at what cost, and he also raised concerns about the security of the data system.

Despite the report, the government says Maximus has provided solid performance and it's extending the contract for another five years at a cost of $264.3 million.

The government says the extension, which will run until March 31, 2020, is considered the best option for continuing the management of the health insurance system.

However, it says the new deal incorporates some of Doyle's recommendations, pointing out the performance of Maximus will be monitored in a number of areas, including answering calls and processing claims in a timely manner.

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