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House passes FY 2014 Budget Resolution; Senate Kicks Off Its Own

On March 13, the House Budget Committee passed the FY 2014 budget blueprint from Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). The structure of the plan drives a $7 billion surplus by 2023. According to The Hill, the plan is based largely on $600 billion in new tax revenue established in the American Taxpayer Relief Act (the legislative hook that kept the government from going over the “fiscal cliff” in January), as well as $716 billion in Medicare cuts originally established in the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). Although Ryan opposed those cuts during his stint as Vice Presidential candidate last year, they figure prominently into his approach to deficit reduction.
Meanwhile, the Senate Budget Committee will begin its markup sessions on its own budget plan on March 14. What is interesting to note is that, while the House plan is mum on the subject of sequestration, the Senate version very clearly states an intention to “Fully replace the harmful cuts from sequestration with smart, balanced, and responsible deficit reduction.”
In the grand scheme of things (and on paper), the House and Senate versions don’t vary significantly from each other. The Senate proposal for Discretionary Budget Authority is $80 billion more than the House version, but the difference shrinks down to $16 billion by 2023. While $80 billion is a whole lot of money to me, it’s a rounding error when it comes to federal spending. 
Source: Summary tables, “The Path to Prosperity: A Responsible, Balanced Budget” (House), “Foundation for Growth” (Senate)
While the topline numbers suggest a chance at compromise, the two diverge significantly on the path to those numbers. As noted earlier, the Senate version replaces sequestration which won’t be an easy sell. And Ryan’s version basically relies on the elimination of Obamacare (but also relies on the additional revenue that Obamacare would bring in).
Source: Summary tables, “The Path to Prosperity: A Responsible, Balanced Budget” (House
 
That’s not going to go over well in the Senate, the House will not be a fan of repealing sequestration, so ultimately both versions are likely dead in the water.

Hawaii Health Connector continues to advance

When the Hawaii Health Connector (the Connector) was approved by the state legislature in 2011, Hawaii became one of the first states to declare its intent to establish a state-based insurance exchange to meet requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Now, with its mission in full swing, Hawaii’s first priority is to create a “one-stop shop” marketplace where consumers and businesses can efficiently and carefully consider health insurance options available to them.
 
The build out of the Connector will be handled by CGI, who won a $53 million contract in December 2012. KPMG has been sub-contracted to provide testing services; Exeter/Oracle to provide its existing insurance exchange software solution; eWorld in Honolulu for local IT resources; and Solutions West for training services. Hawaii also plans to establish an integrated eligibility system with the Hawaii Department of Human Services, which will determine eligibility for all insurance affordability programs. It will serve as the precursor to shopping and purchasing health insurance through the insurance exchange, and Public Consulting Group will be providing project management services.
 
Hawaii is currently deciding how to go about implementing its Small Business Health Options (SHOP) exchange, and will be determining the business size allowed to use SHOP and potential services that the state could consume.
 
Be sure to check out Deltek’s newly released “State Health Insurance Exchange Market” report. The report provides a detailed look into states’ quest to implement the insurance exchange models by the fast-approaching 2014 deadline.

Social Media Week: How social media has already changed the way we talk to governments

Back when I worked in Washington D.C. at a nonprofit that doled out best practice policy advice to state and local government leaders, part of my job was researching and answering questions from our members. Oftentimes a week would not go by without a city manager or department director asking about social media. Sometimes they asked what the best platforms were to use; other times they wondered about standardized practices and guidelines or legal and ethical pitfalls. Some wondered whether it was even appropriate for governments to be communicating in real time on Facebook or Twitter. Most of the time, they just wanted to use social media to better communicate with their citizenry. As one member put it to me: “In order to speak to the people I serve, I have to go to where they are. And social media is where most of my people are today.”

This powerful need for governments to gravitate toward Web 2.0 tools – even when they don’t fully understand how or why – has stuck with me as I’ve moved to the IT contracting intelligence market. It’s a powerful illustration of not just the need for governments to keep up with the technological habits of their citizens, but also how it can act as a catalyst for rethinking the way we interact with our civic leaders and vice versa. It also shows that there is still plenty of room for experimentation, creativity and selling in the private sector when it comes to integrating these tools into the IT arsenal of agencies, universities and policymakers.
 
Social media as a portal for G2C interaction
 
Source: “Social Media in State & Local Government: A New Paradigm for Engagement and Innovation”, Deltek 2012
 
 
By now it is no secret that one of the best ways to use social media in government is G2C, or government-to-citizen applications. As a direct communication or public relations tool, these apps can only be so distinct from the information presented on a government’s Web page or a written press release disseminated to newspapers. As a Canadian government official asked while delivering a speech last year on the potential of the medium: “How are … social media and interactive websites changing how public institutions conduct their business? Is the change profound or are we just replicating the use of traditional media on new platforms?”
 
Where the technology really distinguishes itself is through its ability to coordinate real-time, citizen-produced updates to their government in order to coordinate more efficient action on a range of issues or problems that plague every city, county and town across the country. Larger cities or states with sophisticated or well-funded budgets might want to emulate the U.S. State Department’s CO.NX program, which connects users to officials through Web and video chats on a range of public policy issues. It would not be difficult for states to model and merge a program like this into their existing 311 call center technologies to provide a wider range of services relying on online interaction. San Francisco, Calif., currently integrates several social media platforms into its 311 system, providing citizens an easy and familiar portal to submit a help request when they may have no idea who to contact about a downed tree outside of their apartment.
 
The spread of social media over the past 10 years has proven to be exponential. A pair of University of Illinois studies on local government social media use found a dramatic increase in government-to-citizen interaction from 2009 to 2011.
 
“The change in social media adoption is remarkable - increasing from two to five times over the levels observed two years ago,” according to the authors. The integration of popular sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube into government operations increased from 250-600 percent.
 
Source: “Social Media in State & Local Government: A New Paradigm for Engagement and Innovation”, Deltek 2012
 
Of particular interest to government contractors should be the rise and relatively untapped potential of open data portal technology. These portals often need to be customized to fit an individual government or agency’s information-sharing needs, and thus cannot always be purchased off the shelf or adapted from available  (and free) social networking applications. Oftentimes governments will need third-party expertise to design and integrate these portals into their existing IT infrastructure. Making this information easily accessible and user friendly to those outside of government is crucial to the growth of this technology, something that policymakers who have spent a lifetime in government may not be best suited for.
 
Of the 75 largest U.S. cities included in the University of Illinois study, 12 reported the use of open data portals in 2011. That is a large jump from several years earlier when such portals were almost unheard of in local government; vendors can expect this trend to increase exponentially over the next five years throughout large and small state and local governments.
 
Still, we are just scratching the surface when it comes to the potential of G2C to meet the unique needs of state and local government. According to State Tech Magazine (which has a treasure trove of local government social media infographics that I cannot recommend highly enough), smartphone users will download more than 76 billion apps in 2014, and the app industry as a whole is expected to generate $55 billion of business by 2015. That graphic also does a fantastic job of showcasing some of the more innovative state and local G2C apps in the country, from the Sacramento, Calif., app that shows users the results of a restaurants latest food inspection; to Chicago’s Taxi Share app, which pairs up users heading in the same direction; to the city of Sparks, Nev., which has a mobile app guide to local stores, restaurants, hotels and events. Other graphics display the effective use of social media in public safety (Did you know that social media evidence used for a search warrant is accepted in court 87 percent of the time?) and show how big data analytic tools are changing the way governments approach and solve big challenges.
 
Social media use in emergency management
 
The other great early success of G2C interaction is in disaster and emergency management, where it has had a dramatic effect on how governments manage and coordinate their response to large-scale weather and public safety threats. Nowhere else is the ability to communicate back and forth between citizens and government more important than during a large-scale emergency, when traditional modes of communication may be down or overloaded. While social networking platforms are not entirely immune from these externalities, they do provide an excellent venue for micro-targeting a public safety organization’s response and identifying as well as prioritizing resource allocation to ensure maximum efficiency.
 
Twitter has proven to be an especially effective tool to this end, both because of its popularity across demographic lines and its simplified setup. According to a 2012 Pew report, Twitter usage among the ages of 18-44 range from 16-31 percent. That may not sound like much at first glance, but it is often more than enough people required to create an information “snowball effect” where advice and guidance can spread effectively throughout an affected population. That is also the age group most likely to be physically able to provide assistance to other citizens during an emergency. Think “pushing cars out of snow traps during a blizzard” or “going door to door to help evacuate elderly citizens in the aftermath of a flood.”
 
Source: “Social Media in State & Local Government: A New Paradigm for Engagement and Innovation”, Deltek 2012
 
Public safety organizations were among the first to realize the potential of integrating G2C communication into their operations, and it has changed the face of emergency response in some amazing ways. A 2009 report by the International City/County Management Association on local government social media use during emergencies illustrates the multitude of ways Web 2.0 has helped localities mitigate the damage of a disaster with both proactive and reactive examples provided. The report looks at a geographically diverse set of case studies by enterprising localities as they utilized Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Foursquare and text alerts to more effectively prepare and respond to floods, tornados, snowstorms, the H1N1 flu virus and other emergencies.
 
It is important to understand that the use of social media by emergency management and public safety agencies is not a one-way street. In addition to the G2C interactions, many public safety agencies provide forums on Twitter, Facebook, and even Pinterest to enable citizens to provide valuable information in a variety of areas. For instance, public safety agencies may receive information on emergency situations such as car accidents, robberies or other incidents that may leave the individual unable to make a phone call. Being able to tweet or send other messages to a public safety agency enables anyone to contact their local police agency, assuming they have a presence on social media.
 
For example, during Hurricane Sandy, the New York City 911 System was completely overloaded due to the receipt of 10,000 calls per hour. To put that in perspective, the city typically receives 1,000 calls per day. The use of social media tools during the hurricane skyrocketed with Instagram users posting 10 photos per second, leading a whopping 86,000 images in a 24-hour period. And this is just one of many social media sites.
 
This is not to say that these photos or other social media message directly saved lives, but the onslaught of information allows emergency management agencies to understand the who, what, when and where during an emergency.
When citizens can directly engage with public safety agencies, those agencies may find it necessary to utilize social media tools. In March 2012, Deltek looked at the possible rise of social media management software, which allows agencies to utilize social media for direct engagement with the community and to sift through information sent by the public. While this type of software system has not taken off across the country, it may become a necessity as more agencies utilize social media tools.
 
Social media use in higher education
 
According to a 2012 Pearson survey on social media by universities, nearly two-thirds of higher education faculty use social media on a monthly basis, and nearly half (45 percent) for professional purposes. When it came to social media use in the classroom, the number was significantly lower (a little more than one third), but in all cases there was a very strong age correlation, with younger professors reporting much higher rates of social media use than their older counterparts. This trend indicates that the overall proportion of professors and faculty incorporating social media into their curriculum should only increase as time goes on. Of the top Web 2.0 platforms used in class, blogs and wikis were the most prevalent, with podcasts and Facebook ranking second and third. Other popular platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter had very low usage rates, indicating that faculty has yet to figure out a proper teaching use for these sites.
 
Source: “How Today’s Higher Education Faculty Use Social Media”, Pearson and Babson Survey Research Group, 2012
 
As with governments, social media can also be utilized to great effectiveness during disaster or emergency management crises, such as severe weather or school shootings. After the infamous Virginia Tech shootings in 2007, a research group led by Leysia Palen of Educause documented how social networking was integral at disseminating information at almost every step in the immediate aftermath, from students using text and instant messaging check on the safety of their peers, to the use of IM and Facebook to spread breaking news to alumni and the outside world, to Wikipedia updates on the shootings just an hour after the university sent out its first emergency alert.
 
The result of all this social media activity, the authors argue, was a “distributed problem-solving” model that was “collective and bottom-up rather than orchestrated and top-down.” This allowed lists that correctly identified victims to emerge online well before the university officially released that information. The study also examined 29 Flickr groups across six different disasters from 2004-2007, and found a distinct pattern whereby a few central accounts began rapidly aggregating images of the disaster as well as the accompanying media coverage, providing on-the-ground coordination and reporting that would be almost impossible to reproduce with Web 2.0.
 
The greatest potential for contractor involvement is with opportunities around social media management software and applications that can supplement off-class learning and virtual learning environments. As a range of technological trends converge over the next five years (virtual learning, BYOD, online universities), the need to connect teachers, students and resources all from one device will only accelerate. Social media and social networking functions already have permanence in the marketplace, and they will only continue to become more integrated with the way people, governments and education institutions communicate and disseminate information in the future.
 
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For more information on this topic, download the free summary of the Deltek Report on Social Media in State and Local Government, here.
Or go here if you want to purchase the report in full.
 
Not a Deltek subscriber? Click here  to learn more about Deltek’s GovWin IQ database and take advantage of a free trial.

eHealth Initiative’s Annual Conference: moneyball and big data

As eHealth Initiative’s Annual Conference kicked off last Tuesday in Orlando, Fla., it was clear that the two-day event would offer a candid forum for health care leaders, state representatives and vendors to share the highs and lows, as well as what lies ahead in the ever-shifting world of health information technology.
 
eHealth Initiative Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Bordenick’s welcome address focused heavily on the perseverance the health care industry must have to achieve meaningful, lasting results. Despite major breakthroughs in innovation over the last several years, she said the industry is “starting to see some cracks around the edges.” Bordenick emphasized the uncertainty that surrounds health IT as well as the frustration felt by the private and public sector struggling to implement health care reform, ICD-10 and meaningful use amid strapped budgets and failed projects. She didn’t sugarcoat the introduction; the conference would be a place to discuss successes and pitfalls with “brutal honesty and humility.”
 
Still, Bordenick’s ultimate message was one of hope and encouragement. She took a few minutes to highlight a renowned group of political and cultural icons, all who experienced major defeats before breaking ground – Abraham Lincoln, Steve Jobs, Steven Spielberg, Michael Jordan and Jerry Seinfeld.
 
“It’s not about just getting it right,” said Bordenick. “It’s about perseverance – taking the time to get it right.”
  
In his keynote address, Optum’s Group Executive Vice President Andrew Slavitt discussed the opportunities and challenges of technology and big data. He said the good news is that the next generation of providers expects to use technology in their jobs instead avoiding it. The challenge is that geographic adoption of technology could get worse as more technologies are introduced, due to limited resources.
 
Slavitt said current health technologies are being built to fulfill the needs of the old world instead of the new, and emphasized the importance of understanding the needs of the dual eligible population – about 10 million Americans who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid, and “whose health and social needs are at the root of almost everyone’s health care costs.”
 
According to Slavitt, the health care industry would benefit from adopting a moneyball approach to data analytics. For those unfamiliar with Michael Lewis’ book or the 2011 motion picture starring Brad Pitt, moneyball refers to how baseball’s Oakland Athletics used heavy analytics to assemble a team who went on to win a majority of games in 2001 on a limited budget. Instead of relying on typical batting averages and game statistics, the A’s professionalized data and analytics, and developed a data strategy.
 
Slavitt also noted that adoption and implementation of technology will accelerate once data speaks the language of margin and marketshare. He said with a moneyball approach and investment in health IT, keeping one in five dual eligible individuals in their homes instead of health institutions is an achievable goal, and one that would drastically reduce the $360 billion spent on their care.
 
In closing his address, Slavitt asked the crowd if big data was hype (more promise than will be realized), a fad (gone in five years), or a trend (true, lasting change). While the majority of the attendees believed big data to be a trend, Slavitt leaned toward hype. He said at this time, big data has a major lack of interoperability, standards, severity data, and linked data, all of which “hurts patient care” and “drains the usefulness out of data.” He said until a solution achieves these needed components, the risks of big data can be compared to “playing with fire.”
 
To read more about the eHealth Initiative Annual Conference, please read the full analyst recap.

Massachusetts and Utah: The Original Pioneers of the HIX

The goal of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) was to put people in charge of their health care instead of insurance companies. With the act, states are expected to establish health insurance exchanges (HIXs) to serve as a central marketplace for people to compare health plans based on rates, benefits and quality. The objective is to give people wider access to customer assistance tools, in addition to better choices in health care plans. States must have these HIXs up and running by January 1, 2014.
 
Massachusetts and Utah are two states that saw the importance of getting people insured long before the ACA was legislated. Both states successfully implemented online marketplaces for consumers and small businesses to purchase health plans; however, their stories are very different. 
 
On April 12, 2006, Massachusetts passed legislation for the Health Connector, a system that would provide affordable insurance to qualified individuals. Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) was awarded a five-month contract to build and design the state’s Health Connector website, which was based on program processes and customer needs.
 
A few years later, Utah approved legislation to establish an exchange in March 2009. After a year-long assessment, the state selected bswift LLC to serve as its exchange administrator. The exchange launched in August 2009 and provided consumers with information on health care financing, a means to compare and purchase health plans, and standardized enrollment systems facilitated by a universal insurance application. Bswift was responsible for providing online health plan enrollment and administration technology.
 
Today, both states are moving along with initiatives to implement ACA-compliant health insurance marketplaces. Massachusetts, an Early Innovator Grant recipient, has received $98.8 million in federal funding under Exchange Establishment grants. The state is taking a two-step approach to implement its health insurance exchange and integrated eligibility system. Utah’s current exchange covers 7,600 people and is utilized by more than 300 businesses. Governor Herbert is having discussions with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding needed enhancements to the current system, which he would like to maintain.
 
So far, 18 states including Washington D.C. have received federal approval to set up a state-based health insurance exchange. States have until February 15, 2013 to submit plans to implement a partnership exchange. Only a few have received federal approval thus far in moving forward with this model. To read the full report on Massachusetts and Utah’s health insurance exchange efforts, go here.

HHS releases $1.5 billion to states for exchange efforts

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a whopping $1.5 billion in funding to states to help fund initiatives around setting up their health insurance exchange, or should we say, “health insurance marketplaces,” as rebranded by HHS. The department believes the new name will help with marketing and raising public awareness of these upcoming systems. Here’s a breakdown of today’s awards:
 
Level-One Exchange Establishment Grant Recipients
Delaware - The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services received $8,536,543; activities will include supporting the review of qualified health plan applications in March 2013.
Iowa - The Iowa Department of Public Health received $6,844,913; activities will include developing an in-person assister program that will provide services to educate consumers about their health plan options.
Michigan - The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs received $30,667,944; funding will be used to support the state’s Consumer Assistance Partnership Program.
Minnesota - The Minnesota Department of Commerce was awarded $39,326; funding will be used to support the technical infrastructure of the state’s information technology solution.
North Carolina - The North Carolina Department of Insurance received $73,961,296; funding will be used to support the implementation of the state’s healthcare reform module.
Vermont - The Vermont Department of Health Access received $104,178,965; funding will be used to complete projects necessary to meet the exchange certification requirements and ensure the system will be operational by October 2013.
 
Level-Two Exchange Establishment Grant Recipients
California - The California Health Benefit Exchange received $673,705,358; funding will be used to help build administrative and operational infrastructure.
Kentucky - The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services received $182,707,738; funding will be used to develop a comprehensive consumer and stakeholder engagement and support network.
Massachusetts - The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Health Insurance Connector Authority received $81,256,970; funding will be used to support the transition of the Health Connector to an Affordable Care Act-compliant, state-based exchange.
New York - The New York State Department of Health received $185,822,357; funding will be used to support marketing and outreach efforts.
Oregon - The Oregon Health Insurance Exchange Corp received $226,472,074; funding will be used to cover costs associated with testing, training and implementation of the IT user interface through the October 2013 enrollment date.
 
Be sure to check out Deltek’s brand new Health Insurance Exchange Vertical Profile Application. The expanded coverage gives vendors a competitive edge by extensively tracking states’ progress in HIX implementation. As always, be sure to follow Deltek’s Health Care and Social Services Team on Twitter @GovWin_HHS, or connect with us through LinkedIN.

HHS releases guidance on HIX partnership model

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released additional guidance to states, specifically for states interested in a partnership health insurance exchange. States have until February 15 to decide whether or not to utilize this model. States such as Kansas, Iowa and Minnesota have already expressed interest in participating in a partnership exchange. 

According to HHS, the overall goal of the state-federal partnership exchange is “to enable the exchange to benefit from efficiencies when states have existing regulatory authority and capability, and to provide a framework for constructing elements of the federally-facilitated exchange (FFE) to state markets and residents while maintaining a positive and seamless experience for consumers.” This model gives states a considerable amount of involvement in online marketplaceareas such as plan management, consumer assistance and outreach-related activities. This option also allows states to take a more gradual approach in possibly setting up a state-run model in the future, if they so please.
So far, 20 states, including Colorado, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York and Oregon have been conditionally approved to run a state-based or partnership exchange. Be sure to also check out Deltek’s brand new Be Health Insurance Exchange Vertical Profile Application. The expanded coverage gives vendors a competitive edge by extensively tracking states’ progress in HIX implementation. As always, be sure to follow Deltek’s Health Care and Social Services Team on Twitter @GovWin_HHS, or connect with us through LinkedIN.

More HIX opportunities on the way

With the December 14 deadline behind us, most states, with the exception of New Hampshire and Florida, have chosen their path in implementing the ACA requirement of installing a health insurance exchange (HIX) system. A total of 18 states have declared their intention to utilize a state-based exchange, while more than 20 have decided to utilize the federally-facilitated exchange (FFE). A few states including Arizona, Wyoming and Arkansas opted for the federal exchange for now, but stated that they may switch to a state-facilitated HIX in the future.
Vendors should keep in mind that just because a state chooses to utilize the FFE, it does not mean there will not be a need for other components in their insurance exchange implementation. For instance, Arizona awarded a $48.5 million contract to Xerox in November 2012 to provide HIX component interface services. That same month, Governor Jan Brewer made the decision that Arizona will not be implementing a state-based exchange due to high costs and unanswered questions associated with its implementation. However, the contract with Xerox still exists, but the scope of services has been downsized to not include state-based activities for the exchange. Instead, Xerox will fulfill other activities under the contract.
Additional exchange components a state could potentially procure for are consumer-assistance related services, such as call centers or navigators. These types of services will be highly needed to ensure optimal customer service and support for individuals signing up for plans.
States such as Oregon and California remain leaders in implementing the ACA requirements. Both states have already set up websites showcasing their upcoming portal. Marketing and outreach will be two major areas vendors can take part in from here on out. Consumers and businesses need to be aware that these systems exist.
For a more detailed overview of what is occurring in each state, check out a new report released by Deltek, “Status of the states: A look at state efforts in implementing ACA exchanges.” 
Here is a preview of the type of information found in the report:

State
Chosen Model
Status
Funding to Date
Federal
Governor Robert Bentley confirmed he will not be setting up a state-run exchange or expanding Medicaid eligibility.
$9,772,451
Federal
Governor Sean Parnell will not be implementing a state-based exchange.
0
Federal
The state will be utilizing a federally-facilitated exchange (FFE) for now, but may switch to a state-run model in the future. Xerox was contracted in November 2012 and will fulfill certain components of the HIX implementation.
$30,877,097
Partnership
The state will be utilizing the FFE model; however, according to Governor Mike Beebe, the state may switch to a state-run model in the future.
$27,461,483
State
State contracted with Accenture in June 2012. Covered California will be the name of the state’s new HIX program.
$236,430,906
State
CGI Group, Inc. is working with the state to implement its HIX, which is expected to go live October 2013.
$62,685,346
State
The state contracted with Deloitte for the implementation of its HIX and integrated eligibility solution.
$116,564,957
Partnership
The state will be utilizing the federal-state partnership model, and plans to retain control of critical plan management and consumer assistance functions.
$4,400,095

Be sure to also check out Deltek’s brand new Health Insurance Exchange Vertical Profile Application. The expanded coverage gives vendors a competitive edge by extensively tracking states’ progress in HIX implementation. As always, be sure to follow Deltek’s Health Care and Social Services Team on Twitter @GovWin_HHS, or connect with us through LinkedIN.

 

 

Opportunities Ahead: Health Insurance Exchange Deadline on Friday

The long-awaited deadline is officially right around the corner. Today marks the last day before states have to declare whether or not they will be implementing a state-based health insurance exchange (HIX). Six states – Colorado, Washington, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon and Connecticut – all received conditional approval of their plans on December 10, 2012. These states all plan to have their HIXs up and ready to accept applications by October 1, 2013.
 
States have until February 15, 2013, to declare whether they plan to implement a state-federal partnership exchange. Several states have chosen this path, including Illinois, Arkansas, West Virginia, and Michigan. The partnership model allows states to share the responsibility of handling the exchange with the federal government. States can choose which components of the exchange they would like to operate, such as consumer assistance functionalities.
 
The federally-facilitated insurance exchange is still being developed by CGI, which is currently working on building a website and call center for the system. Ensuring seamless integration with existing information technology systems will be a major challenge for states and the federal government. For that, vendors should keep in mind that even states that opt for the federal exchange may still need assistance with call centers, project management, systems integration and/or enhancing and modifying existing eligibility systems.
 
Though the deadline for declaring intentions is tomorrow, December 14, here is a look at where states are at right now:
 
 
 
Want more? Be sure to check out Deltek’s brand new Health Insurance Exchange Vertical Profile Application. This latest addition gives vendors a competitive edge by extensively tracking states’ progress in HIX implementation. As always, be sure to follow Deltek’s Health Care and Social Services Team on Twitter @GovWin_HHS, or connect with us through LinkedIN.

NASCIO divulges state CIO priorities in annual survey top tens

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) recently published its 2013 State CIO priorities and priority technologies, based on its annual state CIO survey. The survey is a valued peak into the minds and wish lists of state IT executives, and when compared against past priorities, we can see that consolidating existing IT infrastructure and optimizing it for the future (particularly for the cloud) will be among the highest priorities for CIOs this year.
 
 
In this year’s top three, we see a fairly consistent pattern among the states of shifting away from the budget cutting, cost-saving measures of the post-recession years, toward much-needed reinvestment in long-term IT infrastructure. Among last year’s top three, consolidation/optimization remains number one, but budget and cost control falls to number five, and governance drops off the list completely. The second spot this year goes to cloud services, which didn’t even make the list until 2011. Security makes a triumphant return to the top three after being a middle-of-the-pack priority since 2009. In my opinion, these three priorities are all connected and track fairly well with what Deltek has seen in the market over the past few years.
Initiatives to consolidate or upgrade existing data centers have been, or are taking place in Oklahoma, Texas, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. Among these states, New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Texas require significant cloud capabilities for their new consolidated data centers. In many cases, states are looking to the private sector to implement these initiatives and guide them on the right path. Of course, as the importance of cloud-based IT services rise, so do concerns about secure technologies. While security is no longer the barrier to cloud entry that it has been in the past, it is and will remain one of the top concerns for CIOs as they continue integrating the cloud into their existing IT infrastructure.
2013 CIO Technology Priorities
NASCIO also queries its members about their top 10 priority technologies. While the shakeup from last year’s top three is less pronounced, we continue to see a distinct pattern emerging in the minds of state CIOs. It is clear that many envision a future government workforce that is mobile, virtual and able to access workplace resources from anywhere on the planet. While this likely falls short of representing a harbinger of doom for the face-to-face,  brick-and-mortar way of doing state business, the investment in these top three technologies may very well be laying the groundwork for such a future.
 

 Not surprisingly, the new top technology pursued this year is cloud-based services. This comes as no surprise to Deltek, which has seen an explosion of cloud-related procurement in the last three years, as well as procurements for other technologies with specific cloud-integration components built into solicitations. We are quickly approaching the point (if we have not reached it already) where cloud integration requirements for state technology RFPs are the norm, not the exception.
Also notable is the journey of mobile workforce technologies, which hung around as a low-level CIO priority from 2007-2009, dropped out of the top 10 entirely in 2010-2011, and returned this year with a vengeance as the number two priority technology. As cloud computing continues to make it easier for government employees to virtually access their workplace from remote environments, governments are planning to put some serious dollars into making sure their workforce has the mobile computing tools necessary to take advantage of this new environment.
 For the full version of this AP with a complete breakdown of policy and technology priorities, click here (subscription required)

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