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Army Reverses Course on Alleged Illegal Privatization Effort
Army Reverses Course on Alleged Illegal Privatization Effort | kil_tem_fth_txbz, AFGE, John Gage, Fort Hood, federal civilian, southern regional medical command, billing,

Texas Business reports:  The Army's reversed its decision of what was claimed to be the illegal conversion of civilian work to private contractors.

On February 25, the Army's Southern Regional Medical Command issued a memorandum announcing it would outsource all outpatient and inpatient third party billing and collections functions at all military treatment facilities in the region.

This action was in direct violation of Title 10 of the U.S. Code, which forbids the Department of Defense from converting any function performed by civilian employees to contractors without first conducting a formal cost comparison, according to the American Federation of Government Employees.

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 625,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.

After being informed of this action by leaders from AFGE Local 1920 in Fort Hood, AFGE president John Gage sent a letter to Army Secretary John McHugh asking for an immediate halt to what he called an “illegal privatization effort.”

“The rank-and-file work force would be delighted to work with management to generate efficiencies, but this privatization of these services is flatly illegal,” Gage wrote in the March 3rd letter.

The next day, the Army's Southern Regional Medical Command rescinded the Feb. 25 memo.

Even though the outsourcing action has been halted for now, AFGE remains concerned that the Command intends to phase out the use of civilian employees for the billing and collection functions by not replacing employees as they retire, Gage said.

“We are more than happy to work with Army leaders to make these functions more efficient, but we will not allow the Army to illegally transfer this work to contractors without any regard to the federal workers currently performing these jobs,” Gage said.