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Consumer Direct, a home health care company on North Reserve Street in Missoula, has laid off five people as part of a reorganization and has given notice to another 35 people that they’ll likely be laid off within about 30 days.

A Missoula-based in-home health care company has been chosen to administer $500 million in spending by the state of Washington for overseeing providers of in-home personal care and respite.

Consumer Direct Care Network was chosen last week by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services for the contract.

“We deal in Medicaid-based home care, and how this works is essentially we are one of two awarded,” explained Ben Bledsoe, the president and CEO of Consumer Direct Care Network. “It’s a big deal for us. It puts us in a new category.”

The company employs about 325 people in its headquarters off of North Reserve Street, along with about 75 caregivers around Missoula. Nationwide, the company has about 600 administrative employees and supports the employment of about 28,000 caregivers. The new contract will allow the company to hire roughly 150 people in Missoula.

“We’re hiring all (positions),” he said. “All of it. Everything from IT folks to call center to director-level folks.”

In a statement, the Washington state Department of Social and Health Services said Consumer Direct Care Network brings “demonstrated success in paying providers,” along with “a customer service strategy that includes in-person service across the state as well as by phone.”

Bledsoe made it clear that his company doesn’t get $500 million, but it does get an administrative rate to receive a suitable margin and cover costs.

The contract gives it more than 20,000 new clients to go along with the 10,000 new clients it was awarded in Virginia last year.

“We’ve gone from serving 18,000 people last year at this time to now serving 50,000,” he said.

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