Days after a lawsuit alleged two state entities awarded a testing contract based on information it knew to be inaccurate, the state cancelled the contract.
Professional Healthcare Development, an Ona-based testing company, filed suit Dec. 13 in Kanawha Circuit Court alleging the state purchasing division awarded a contract to a company based on misleading statements, and the state Department of Health and Human Resources defended the decision.
PHD had administered the nurse aide training for the state since 2001. There is no state money involved, but the company awarded the contract collects testing fees from those who need the certification.
On Tuesday the purchasing division cancelled its contract with Pearson Vue, the Pennsylvania-based company awarded the contract earlier this year, according to public records provided by purchasing division spokeswoman Diane Holley-Brown.
Jolynn Marra, director of the DHHR's Office of Health Facility Licensure and Certification, sent a letter dated Monday to DHHR purchasing director Bryan Rosen. It explains why the state decided to cancel the contract.
Marra states that a certain portion of the request for proposal and her office's clarification of that portion of the document were "ambiguous." She asks Rosen to cancel the award so the department can rebid the contract after removing the potentially confusing portion.
The portion in question surrounds whether a particular type of nurse assistant testing can be administered in writing or orally. It was one of the seven objections PHD brought up in its lawsuit.
The requirement in the contract request for administering the approved medication assistive personnel exam states the test can be given "via a computer, or paper and pencil and orally." The people who need to take this exam, called AMAPs, are expected to identify and administer medication to patients, PHD states in its lawsuit.
Professional Healthcare Development argues that it's imperative AMAPs be literate to understand what medications they are distributing. Allowing someone to take the AMAP exam orally is problematic, the company contends
On Nov. 15 PHD sent this and other concerns to purchasing division director David Tincher. Tincher temporarily placed a cease-and-desist order on the contract, but information supplied by Pearson Vue, Marra and Rosen eventually led to restoration of the contract.
In response to PHD's allegations, Pearson Vue stated it did meet the requirements outlined concerning administration of the AMAP test. However, Rosen himself sent questions to Pearson Vue employees about that portion of their bid document the same day he said the company's bid was clear and sufficient.