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Deltek releases state and local government social media report

Social media is one of the hottest topics in both government and the government contracting community today. Since 2008, overall social media (SM) use and state and local adoption rates have been astronomical. SM is also presenting a new paradigm for service delivery and innovation in state and local government. SM platforms (including mobile applications) can be used for direct government/citizen engagements that are profoundly changing society.
Beyond the influence of direct engagement, these SM platforms and related mobile devices can aggregate crowdsourced data to inform decisions. In turn, these informed decisions can be used to innovate and improve government by delivering more efficient services (either directly or by augmentation). SM interactions (including data gathered to inform decisions and services) can lead to greater innovation, improved government accountability, and broader civic engagement.
For the government contractor community, this change presents a myriad of business opportunities:
·         Working collaboratively with state and local government now to build short and long-term policy and related solutions; these solutions will be the foundation for future implementations.
·         Creating new solutions that were previously unimagined.
·         Adding value to existing vendor solutions through IT integration.
·         Adding social media integration to existing state and local government IT systems, including at the enterprise level.
·         Aggregating the big data of social media for government innovation.
·         Creating purpose-built mobile solutions that integrate social media to improve government service delivery
Deltek has researched and tracked these state and local government opportunities with SM components since 2008, when they first appeared in solicitations. As expected, while initially slow, the number of opportunities has grown and remains relatively steady (Figure 1, below). Opportunities are also spread across each state and local government type. While the majority of opportunities reside with the states, some of the more cutting edge and interesting opportunities are in the localities. Looking forward, opportunities are projected to grow along with state and local government’s increased use and integration of SM technology.
Figure 1: Deltek Opportunity Analysis – Social Media


For more insight on the implications of social media on state and local business opportunities, read Deltek’s recently released report, here.
Subscribers also have access to this article in Analyst's Perspectives, here.

Read our recent blog on crowdsourcing, here.

Read our recent blog on social media, here.

Follow me on Twitter, here.

NASCIO and NASPO themes: Crowdsourcing to win

One theme that emerged through sessions at both the National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO) 2012 Midyear Conference and the National Association of State Procurement Officers (NASPO) 2012 Meeting was crowdsourcing, both in terms of data and procurement. The whole idea of crowdsourcing represents a change in how state and local government acquires the information, goods, and services it needs in order to function effectively.
The traditional approach to data exchange has been through labored capture by the government through government driven processes. In turn, government drove data back to citizens (G2C) and businesses (G2B). This was hardly engagement and certainly a top down approach. For procurement, government has engaged in a similar G2B information flow. While government assessed citizen needs and designed models for services based upon these perceived citizen needs, government was very much in the driver’s seat in terms of deciding what sorts of solutions best fit its needs.
Since the recession, much of that is changing. There is a groundswell in the state and local government procurement and IT communities for increased engagement. Crowdsourcing is beginning to flip the G2C and G2B information flow upside down. Increasingly, government is directly acquiring data both from its citizens (C2G) and vendors (B2G). By getting data more directly from citizens, and even engaging citizens in the process of ideation or solution creation, state and local government is driving efficiency and innovation through crowdsourcing. Additionally, state and local government is looking more now for direct partnership and collaboration with vendors, even allowing vendors to participate in the creation of solicitations for which they will compete. Both of these shifts in sourcing from the “crowd” are completely changing how government and procurement can be accomplished. Again, the necessary reason has been that state and local government is increasingly understaffed and needs to find every way possible to innovate to improve both efficiency and efficacy of service delivery.
Crowdsourcing data
While government gathering data through an increased online presence and online delivery of services is old news, there are exciting changes afoot. State and local government is increasingly searching for ways to gather data from its citizens.
Not only are state and local governments gathering data through their own online services, but they are also capturing data organically through social media and purpose built mobile applications that include social media-type citizen engagement.
·         See the Deltek report on social media for examples, here.
·         Boston’s New Urban Mechanics Office.
However, the types of data gathered are also growing and changing, expanding beyond basic registration data, service use data, or demographics, and toward real-time trending data on topics as widespread as emergency conditions to citizen opinions and ideas.
·         Newark, Philadelphia, Maryland’s crowdsourcing natural disaster data for state and local government response (for more, click here).
·         Virginia Department of Emergency Management’s emergency management system incorporating crowdsourced social media data.
The uses of this crowdsourced data are also changing, from the old idea of capturing data and databasing it for quarterly or annual reports, to the new idea of using data to develop solutions to be implemented within a matter of months to traffic or natural disaster data being used immediately to improve service delivery.
·         See emergency and natural disaster examples, above, and here.
·         Philadelphia’s upcoming City Planning Commission mobile application that will enable direct engagement around city planning, soliciting ideas and solutions directly from all stakeholders (for more, click here).
With the rapid proliferation of technologies and increasing growth of citizen mobile and smart phone use (for information, click here), the reality of smart cities and smart services is finally becoming a real possibility. Smart government is government that captures and uses data from citizens to innovate and improve responsively, even in real time.
Crowdsourcing procurement
More accurately, it could be called crowdsourcing the ideas for solution that eventually become the procurement solicitations. With efficiency drivers firmly entrenched, procurement and IT officials in state and local government are kicking down the doors and asking for vendor collaboration and partnership. Technology is changing rapidly, and government is having difficulty keeping up with all the available solutions. Crowdsourcing ideas allow government to find efficiency solutions they did not even know existed.
·         From both the NASPO and NASCIO conferences, many procurement and IT officials were asking for this type of vendor education and engagement (both during official presentations and during off-the record conversations). 
Agencies are also increasingly looking for public-private partnerships, including those along revenue-sharing models.
·         Maryland is working on these now, especially related to the development of mobile applications (for more, click here).
·         Philadelphia and Boston’s New Urban Mechanics offices both deliberately partner with vendors in developing mobile applications (for more, click here).
On the other hand, having solicitations custom designed for solutions that are possible allows for a much more efficient procurement process. Again, crowdsourcing procurement flips the paradigm from G2B communication to B2G communication and can allow for a faster pace of innovation toward more efficient and effective service delivery.
However, it would be remiss to ignore the legal challenges that exist in some states for vendors participating in the creation of solicitations for which they will bid. Maryland is a recent example of success. Bryan Sivak (Maryland’s Chief Innovation Officer) recently worked with state procurement and legal officials to find a way within the system.
·         Maryland vendors may now aid in creating solicitations to which they will respond, as long as:
o    The solicitation is not sole-sourced
o     Vendors are required to partner with other contractors.
·         Sivak’s suggestion to other states and government contractors is to work collaboratively on finding ways to make procurement crowdsourcing possible, as everyone wins in the end.
Analyst’s Take and Recommendations
·         Vendors should look to actively collaborate and partner with state and local government for procurement; government wants collaboration and it can be the new differentiator between those contractors going out and acquiring new business and those waiting on business to come to them.
·         Vendors should always look for ways to incorporate more crowdsourcing capability into their solutions; the ability to crowdsource and use data from customers (citizens) is a value-added proposition for any IT solution.
·         Vendors can help government integrate social media-type engagement and data crowdsourcing into their existing systems.
·         Some specific IT solution areas that incorporate crowdsourcing and are more frequently on state and local government wish lists include:
o    Emergency and natural disaster response
o    Aggregating organic social media data
o    Mobile applications
o     Direct C2G engagement platforms (social media types) to inform decisions
·         Vendors willing to adapt with government in this changing environment are likely to succeed; now is the time to build or rebuild the state and local pipeline.

For the full article, subscribers can click, here.

Read our recent blog on social media, here.

Read our recent blog on social media, here.

Also check out our recently published report on social media in state and local government, here.

Follow me on Twitter, here.

The impact of Ariz. immigration law ruling on state and local E-Verify

The Supreme Court ruled against three of the four provisions of the controversial Arizona immigration law on Monday. In a 5-3 vote, the majority of the justices concluded that the Arizona law unconstitutionally invaded the federal government's exclusive prerogative to set immigration policy. Many states looking to get a better handle on the presence of unauthorized immigrants in their state were watching closely, especially Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina, and Utah, which all currently have pending Arizona-style legislation. With this Supreme Court decision, states and localities may begin looking at the E-Verify program more seriously.

For those not familiar, E-Verify was created in 1997 as a free and voluntary Web-based program targeting federal agencies and contractors. The program evaluates an employee’s Employment Eligibility Verification Form, known as the I-9 Form, against U.S. government records to determine if they are legally eligible to work in the U.S.

If a disparity is found, the employer is alerted and the employee is given eight federal government work days to resolve the issue while retaining employment. The program, operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA), was mandated for all federal agencies and contractors in 2007. Soon after, a handful of state governments began requiring their state agencies to participate in the E-Verify program as well.

There are currently 17 states that require public and/or private employers to participate in the E-Verify program: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia. While E-Verify mandates vary from state to state, all of the previously mentioned states require government contractors and subcontractors providing direct services to the state to enroll in the E-Verify program.

The E-Verify program is not without its flaws. In 2010, DHS released an outside study on the accuracy of E-Verify’s ability to identify unauthorized workers. The study found that 54% of unauthorized workers were able to slip past the system and gain authorization to work. The study attributed this high number to identity fraud. An unauthorized worker could cheat the system, by submitting documents from a person who was authorized to work. Since that time, DHS has worked diligently to increase E-Verify’s reliability and accuracy.

In most cases government contractors who knowingly employ unauthorized workers risk having their contract terminated. Penalties range in severity from one government entity to the next. For example government contractors that are found to be some of the most egregious E-Verify violators can face heavy fines, upwards of $2,500 per worker (Louisiana) or even five years in jail (Mississippi). However, in most instances, employers using E-Verify are presumed by the government entity to be in good faith and not subject to penalties should an unauthorized worker mistakenly or fraudulently be given authorization. So, it is in the best interest of the contractor to enroll.

So, how might the Supreme Court decision affect government contractors? Likely, state and local government mandates for E-Verify will pick-up steam. For most large government contractors who do federal and multistate government business, E-Verify is something of an old issue. Smaller and more regional government contractors may have recently ran into E-Verify hurdles, especially as the program becomes more popular among states and localities.

The main obstacles government contractors are experiencing are mostly logistical. Navigating though E-Verify’s enrollment and compliance process can be daunting and confusing to smaller firms with limited resources. Also, arranging to have all new and most existing employees verified within 30 days of a contract award can be a nightmare to medium-sized firms with decentralized staff. If a government contractor does not know where to start and wants to avoid potential fines, they can seek out third-party assistance from E-Verify employer agents who use E-Verify to confirm the employment eligibility of another company's employees. The agents audit all I-9 forms and identify errors to be corrected before submitting them to the government entity.

In light of the Supreme Court decision, and as illegal immigration becomes a bigger issue on the agenda for states, E-Verify will no doubt be a hot topic. Government contractors who are not currently enrolled in E-Verify and do most of their business with states and local government should start investigating the enrollment process now. In the future, E-Verify will become a standard tool and more prominent fixture in the state and local government contracting market.

If you are interested in guest blogging for Deltek’s general government services team, reach out to Jason Sajko at jasonsajko@deltek.com for more information! Meanwhile, be sure to follow us on @GovWin_GenGov! 

 

 

Deltek Pulse: health care and social services - May 2012 recap

The May health care and social services recap means that we are one step closer to the Supreme Court decision regarding the Affordable Care Act. Rumors swirled at the end of May that a decision was close, but nothing has been released so far. Although questions remain surrounding severability of the required health insurance mandate, those states (and there are many) that still want to implement a health insurance exchange no matter what the outcome is may be in luck. According to a recent article, the federal government may find alternative ways to distribute grant funds for exchange development even if the mandate is struck down. The official White House comment is unavailable, as it maintains the ACA will be found constitutional.
 
Several opportunities in the health insurance exchange (HIX) arena were released in May, including opportunities for eligibility systems and quality assurance services.
  • The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services issued a request for proposals (RFP) for a statewide health insurance exchange or health benefits exchange (HBE). The HBE will provide two primary functions – an end-to-end eligibility and enrollment solution and a plan, maintenance and billing (PMB) solution. Proposals are due July 12.
  • The Office of the Alabama HIX issued an RFP for its statewide HIX. Proposals are due June 11.
  • The New Mexico Human Services Department (HSD) canceled its RFP for its HIX (NMHIX). HSD will be working with Leavitt Partners to figure out the direction to take in setting up a state-run insurance exchange. Leavitt Partners will also assist the state in writing the RFP for the exchange, which will include building the IT framework.
  • The Hawaii Department of Human Services released a request for information (RFI) on May 21 for eligibility system replacement demonstration services. RFI responses are due on June 4.
  • The Wyoming Department of Health released an RFP for a health insurance eligibility and enrollment system on May 1, and proposals are due on June 15. The department confirmed that future phases of the project will likely include integration with human service programs managed by the Department of Family Services, and that additional programs/agencies outside the initial scope may require additional procurement activities.
  • The University of Massachusetts Medical School released a solicitation on May 21 for independent verification and validation (IV&V) of HIX systems integration services. Responses are due on July 6.
  • The Virginia Department of Social Services released an RFP for enterprise delivery system program eligibility modernization on May 25. Proposals are due July 31.
  • The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration released an RFP for an Indiana eligibility determination services system on May 14. Proposals are due by July 2.
Other projects in May included:
  • The Florida Department of Children and Families released an invitation to negotiate (ITN) for electronic benefit transfer/electronic funds transfer. Proposals are due June 12.
  • Texas published an “enrollment broker operations and Texas health steps outreach and informing” RFP on May 1. Vendor proposals are due by July 3.
  • The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) released an RFP for an assessment of the Medicaid management information system/decision support system to support the future transition to statewide Medicaid managed care (SMMC). Proposals are due June 12.
Awards for May included:
  • On May 7, the Texas Department of State Health Services issued a contract award for the WIC Information Network (WIN) System to CMA Consulting Services in the amount of $57,522,437.
  • On May 18, Virginia announced its intent to award a contract to Health Management Systems for fraud, waste and abuse detection services.
  • The Illinois Department of Employment Security released an intent to award its new hire contract to JP Morgan Chase Bank. The contract will run from July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2015, and is valued at $1.3 million.
As always, be sure to follow Deltek’s Health Care and Social Services Team @GovWin_HHS and onLinkedIn. Deltek also recently released a report regarding state integrated eligibility systems, which can be found here.

Human services agencies continue to tackle the interoperability challenge

While states have limited-time access to enhanced 90/10 federal funding, there is no better time than the present to integrate disconnected health and human services information technology systems. By submitting a federal cost allocation waiver, states have through the end of December 2015 to use funding generally slated solely for Medicaid to revamp or replace eligibility and enrollment systems that will account for the breadth of state-administered human services benefit programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), child support, child welfare and child care.
 
On the federal side, the Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Child Support Enforcement (OSCE) is now heading up the Interoperability Initiative, designed to bring human services agencies together with Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and health insurance exchanges (HIXs). OSCE’s vast experience with complex IT integration projects, upgrades and system replacements well prepares them to do the job. Currently, OSCE is busy planning and developing the following projects that make up the bulk of the Interoperability Initiative:
 
  • A Human Services Domain within the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM)
  • The National Human Services Interoperability Architecture (NHSIA)
  • The Data Exchange Standardization
 
While the feds are at work on developing policy and technical architectural standards to help build these interoperable systems, many states are knee deep in the planning and implementation stages of these integration projects. Last week, I featured a blog on Ohio’s efforts to modernize its Client Registry Information System (CRISe). Other states working their way toward a solicitation release in the near future include Vermont, Tennessee and Georgia, among many others.
 
Deltek is working toward publishing a comprehensive report on integrated eligibility systems in early June. The report will include details about the Interoperability Initiative projects listed above, as well as great detail about state plans to integrate health and human services IT systems, all of which will be invaluable to vendors looking to work with states on these complex integration projects.
 
In the meantime, be sure to follow Deltek’s Health Care and Social Services team on Twitter @GovWin_HHS and LinkedIn to get our expert analysis of health IT initiatives across state and local government entities.

 

 

Ohio buckles down to modernize its Medicaid eligibility system

Ohio’s complex, antiqued, 30-year-old Medicaid eligibility system is on the fast track to reform. The Client Registry Information System (CRISe) contains upward of 150 categories of Medicaid eligibility, not accounting for Ohio’s two separate eligibility systems for disabled Medicaid beneficiaries, let alone any other public benefit program. With an anticipated influx of 100 million newly-eligible Medicaid recipients resulting from the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the state is buckling down on its plans to implement a new, integrated, streamlined eligibility determination system that accounts for Medicaid as well as other health and human services benefit programs.

 
Last month, the Ohio Governor’s Office of Health Transformation (OHT) released a concept paper to kick off the modernization process and begin securing plans to procure a modern eligibility system. As part of these efforts, the newly-created Health and Human Services Cabinet, developed jointly by three state agencies, established five priority project areas: explore options for a statewide health insurance exchange (HIX), share information across state and local data systems, integrate claims payment systems, and accelerate electronic health information exchange (HIE), in addition to the eligibility determination modernization project.
 
To fund the eligibility determination modernization that is estimated to cost more than $200 million, the state plans to jump on the 90/10 federal-funding bandwagon. After receiving and incorporating stakeholder feedback on its plans, OHT intends to submit a formal waiver request to the federal government in June 2012.
 
Ohio’s Medicaid eligibility modernization is one of many Medicaid and integrated eligibility modernization projects occurring throughout the nation as a result of the ACA and availability of enhanced federal funding, which will terminate on December 31, 2015. Stay tuned for more information from the Health Care and Social Services team on these modernization projects, as well as the release of an in-depth report in early June 2012! As always, be sure to follow Deltek’s Health Care and Social Services Team on Twitter @GovWin_HHS and LinkedIn to get our expert analysis of health IT initiatives across state and local government entities.

 

Shining a light on statewide child welfare programs

April doesn’t just bring showers, it also brings the observance child abuse prevention. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Children’s Bureau, Office of Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN), deemed April National Child Abuse Prevention Month in 1983. As such, Deltek’s Health Care and Social Services team saw this as the perfect opportunity to highlight child welfare reform initiatives occurring nationwide. Stay tuned for related blogs throughout the month!

To kick things off, we take a look at two states that have received their fair share of publicity in recent months: Oklahoma and Nebraska. Last week, Oklahoma released its improvement plan for the state’s child welfare program, the Pinnacle Plan. The five-year plan, which will launch in fiscal year (FY) 2013, addresses 15 distinct performance areas, or “Pinnacle Points,” that are in critical need of improvement. These points include reducing staff turnover, increasing permanency outcomes for all children in the state’s care, increasing accountability of all involved parties, and engaging parties outside of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS).   Information technology upgrades to assist in addressing these points include the use of smartphones and/or tablets by state child welfare staff and a statewide matching solution for displaced children.

Nebraska legislators are now dealing with the aftermath of the unsuccessful and catastrophic attempt to privatize its child welfare program. While only one of the five original contracts remains active, the state is spending far more than its allocated budget to operate the program compared to its prior cost to privatize. According to an analysis performed by the Legislative Fiscal Office, the state spent an extra $542,929 in FY 2008-2009 to operate the program. This number jumped significantly to an alarming $22,472,951 in FY 2009-2010, and even higher in FY 2010-2011 to $27,244,348. Now that the program is back in the hands of the state (for the most part), it plans to hire more case workers and put more funding into foster care and other child welfare services that will directly benefit children and ease the workload of overrun caseworkers.

In this month’s future blogs, Deltek will take a closer look at the controversies surrounding Nebraska and Oklahoma’s child welfare programs, as well as highlight states that successfully transformed their child welfare programs to keep in line with advancing technologies and integrating human services programs and technology systems. Subscribers can check out the Child Welfare Vertical Profile for a closer look at child welfare programs on a state-by-state basis. Make sure to follow us on Twitter @GovWin_HHS  LinkedIn to be the first to get updates on the latest from the Deltek Health Care and Social Services team!

Celebrating National Purchasing Month: big, Texas-style transparency

The state of Texas is known for doing things big, and with the third largest state budget in the country, the Lone Star State tends to spend big as well. In 2011, the state spent $94 billion in total expenditures, with approximately $660 million spent on IT-related goods and services alone. Earlier this month, the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) informally announced upcoming contracts with both Capgemini (opportunity A) and Xerox Corp (opportunity B) that would replace the troubled IBM (opportunity C) contract. The new multi-year contracts for data center management and operations services are worth $127 million and $1.1 billion, respectively. So, who is tracking all this money, where is it going, and how exactly is it being used?

Texas State Comptroller Susan Combs is responsible for capturing how all public funds are collected and used. When Combs took office in 2007, she wanted to make transparency a priority. She understood that on the heels of an economic crisis, prompted by shady transactions and closed-door deals, the call for transparency in government had become a hot topic. Later that year, Combs began posting state agencies’ expenditures online, which provided details – down to the purchase of each pencil – on how the state spent public money. Today, her office tracks half-a-billion dollars a day, and the transparency website is updated with the latest numbers every evening. It’s no wonder that the Texas Transparency Web portal was recently ranked No. 1 for government spending transparency by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG).
 
The open data made accessible on the website not only lists expenditure by year and agency, but also lists links to all state contracts including DIR statewide co-op contracts. This website can be an invaluable tool for vendors interested in doing business with the state. They can learn which agencies use which contracts, and how much they spend using those contracts. In addition, the state’s transparency website provides contract information such as incumbent pricing and detailed scopes of work.
 
For example, the Texas transparency website details that in 2011, the Health and Human Services Commission spent $22 million on computer hardware and software, $135 million on data processing and programming services, $10 million on IT equipment repair/maintenance, and $3 million on telecommunications equipment and software. The website also reveals that 79 percent of the nearly $170 million public dollars spent for the commission’s IT-related needs went to just four vendors: Northrop Grumman Systems, Deloitte Consulting LLP, AT&T, and IBM Corp (see Figure 1). This in-depth financial transparency can help vendors build their business pipeline and get a leg up on winning future contracts.

 
Figure 1: Allocation of 2011 IT Expenditure in Texas among the top seven grossing vendors from the eight largest state agencies

 As always, follow us on Twitter @GovWin_GenGov

 

 

 

National Social Worker Month – Child Welfare

In this installment of Deltek’s month-long blog series honoring National Social Worker Month, we focus on one of social workers’ most consuming focus areas: child welfare.
In 1998, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the first “Child Welfare Outcomesreport, which provides information on both national and state performance in the seven outcome areas listed below. States annually submit child welfare information into two national systems – the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) and the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), which is used by HHS to populate the “Child Welfare Outcomes” and “Child Maltreatment” reports. Based on the latest version of this report, 763,000 children – or 10.1 out of every 1,000 children – were confirmed victims of maltreatment.
Seven child welfare outcome areas identified by the HHS Administration for Children and Families (ACF):
  • Outcome 1: Reduce recurrence of child abuse and/or neglect
  • Outcome 2: Reduce the incidence of child abuse and/or neglect in foster care
  • Outcome 3: Increase permanency for children in foster care
  • Outcome 4: Reduce time in foster care to reunification without increasing reentry
  • Outcome 5: Reduce time in foster care to adoption
  • Outcome 6: Increase placement stability
  • Outcome 7: Reduce placements of young children in group homes or institutions
Vendors in the state and local market and social workers alike might be more familiar with the statewide automated child welfare information system (SACWIS), an optional comprehensive case management tool used most frequently by social workers to manage foster care and adoption assistance cases. States can obtain federal funding to develop, implement and maintain a SACWIS system if and only if this is the sole case management tool used by social workers. Data entered into a SACWIS is then fed into the federal NCANDS and AFCARS databases. SACWIS is also required to interface with other state-run public assistance programs including Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and child support systems.
 
Based on the latest HHS data, all but 12 states have either an operational SACWIS or one in development. Let’s take a look at a handful of states’ current child welfare programs and/or associated statewide automated child welfare information systems (SACWIS):
  • Nebraska, according to the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform (NCCPR), has nearly three times the national average of children in foster care. NCCPR released a report detailing a 25-point plan for the state to overhaul its child welfare system and bring this statistic down. Lawmakers continue to debate how they will tackle the needed system overhaul.
  • Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services (DCF) recently came under fire for the high caseloads put on overworked state investigators, a common problem among states. The state plans to freeze hiring in other areas to allow for hiring of additional case workers.
  • As part of Florida’s Department of Children and Family Services’ (DCF) modernization efforts, the state released an invitation to negotiate (ITN) in early February for Florida Safe Families Network Application Services, Florida’s SACWIS. The awarded vendor will maintain and support the current system, as well as deliver large-scale system enhancements as they are approved by DCF and the state legislature.
  • Mississippi plans to seek consulting services to determine how it will move forward with transforming and replacing the state’s outdated Mississippi Automated Child Welfare Information System (MACWIS), implemented in July 2001.
  • In 2007, Oregon awarded CGI a near $30 million contract to replace the state’s SACWIS, which is now nearing completion.

Analyst’s Take

In this age of integration and consolidation, the more comprehensive and interoperable a vendor’s SACWIS solution can be, the more valuable it will be to a state human or social services agency. On that note, it is important for vendors to consider integration with other state-provided public assistance programs when submitting proposals for SACWIS enhancement or replacement procurements.
While Nebraska is looking to shy away from using the private industry to manage its child welfare program, other states whose systems are running smoothly will continue to utilize private sector investigators as well as technology solution providers to implement and manage child welfare programs. With social workers’ increasingly large caseloads, technology can easily help alleviate large workloads and subsequently help protect the lives of children.
Although SACWIS is not one of the hot topics in the media right now, it is important to remember that states will continually rely on these systems as a case management tool, and they, like any other technology solution, will need to be updated and enhanced to keep up with evolving technology and fluctuations in the number of people seeking public assistance.

Alabama chooses Deloitte to replace Medicaid eligibility determination system

Yesterday, the Alabama Medicaid Agency (AMA) announced a tentative contract award to Deloitte to replace the state’s 30-year-old Medicaid eligibility determination system (MEDS). The outdated system is finally getting an overhaul to account for the ever-growing Medicaid population, and to prepare for the influx of Medicaid enrollees in 2014 resulting from the 2010 passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).
AMA estimates the ACA will add 400,000 to 500,000 recipients to the state’s already-crowded Medicaid system. As of fiscal year (FY) 2009, approximately 20.1 percent of the state’s population was eligible for Medicaid.
The new MEDS will integrate with the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which together will interface with the state’s future health insurance exchange (HIX). The system will be built within the framework of a service-oriented architecture (SOA) and will meet future HIX interoperability standards. Legislation to establish the Alabama HIX was filed in the state House of Representatives in February.The legislation would establish the exchange, but leaves room for a repeal should the ACA be repealed, defunded, or deemed unconstitutional.  The state is working to meet the HIX pre-enrollment deadline of January 1, 2013, and hopes to have the new MEDS fully in place by December 31, 2015.
The procurement process launched in January 2011 with the release of a draft request for proposals (RFP); the final RFP was released last November. The proposed cost of the system replacement is $54,891,806, with the feds providing 90 percent of the funding. Hewlett-Packard (HP), MariChris and Microsoft also submitted proposals. The final award is contingent upon review and approval by the Legislative Oversight Committee, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Alabama Governor Bentley.
With many states working to replace outdated Medicaid eligibility systems with integrated eligibility systems that account for other state-provided medical and/or social assistance programs, there will be plenty of news on this topic as we approach the 2013 exchange certification deadline.
Be on the lookout for Deltek’s report on integrated eligibility systems this coming June! As always, remember to follow Deltek’s Health Care and Social Services team on Twitter @GovWin_HHS, or connect with us through LinkedIn!

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