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Child Welfare IT Managers' Meeting Recap

The 9th Annual National Child Welfare IT Managers' Meeting, sponsored by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Children's Bureau (CB), was held May 17-20, 2010, in Arlington, VA. One of the major takeaways from the conference was that of thriving innovation despite tough economic times. Although funding for programs is limited, child welfare cannot afford to roll over. Hard times mean a higher demand for services, which is a responsibility states have to shoulder.

Integration (and the very idea of integration) plays a key role in modernizing state benefit delivery systems. States are realizing that siloed service systems (child support, child welfare, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), etc) are inefficient and antiquated. Families who qualify for one service are usually eligible for several other programs, but only a small number of states have cross-agency eligibility systems. The Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) is no stranger to this concept; it is currently engaged in the largest and most complex initiative in its history, the MOSAIC project. MOSAIC will break down the walls between the state's child support system (OSIS), family support system, and child welfare information system (SACWIS).

Maryland's Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services has already centralized administrative functions and is moving towards a single client record supported by an interoperable database. The department's quality reports not only grade work done on a single case file, but on how well the collective agencies worked together to deliver benefits to the family in need.

Not all modernization requires extensive funding, which is good, since none of the states seem to have much anyway. New Mexico is currently working to remove duplicate persons in its SACWIS system. The project may seem tedious, but it will result in greater caseworker efficiency and accuracy when dealing with families. With an increase in demand and a larger number of conversations with end users, states can examine their customer support models and see if they are as effective as they need to be. Although there are projections on when the recession may end, some states have adopted the idea that program cuts may become part of the norm from here on out. Vendors should not think that states have lost hope just because projects are not moving forward due to budget cuts. There continues to be a buzz of activity and planning around human services system integration and collaboration. All states need is the money to make those plans a reality.

To read more about the IT Managers' Meeting, please see GovWin's Analyst Recap.

Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems ARRA Grantees Announced

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) awarded 20 states with $250 million this week through its Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) Grant Program. The grants, funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, provide states with the support needed to develop and implement data systems that track students from childhood into their careers. These data systems will adhere to all privacy and confidentiality laws and will help drive state and local educational systems toward improved student learning and higher student achievement.

Since the program's conception in 2005, 73 grants have been awarded. The May 2010 grantees are as follows:

Arkansas - $9.8 million

Colorado - $17.4 million

Florida - $10.0 million

Illinois - $11.9 million (GovWin Opportunities 56716 and 56712)

Kansas - $9.1 million

Maine - $7.3 million

Massachusetts - $13.0 million

Michigan - $10.6 million

Minnesota - $12.4 million

Mississippi - $7.6 million (GovWin Opportunity 61101)

New York - $19.7 million

Ohio - $5.1 million

Oregon - $10.5 million

Pennsylvania - $14.3 million

South Carolina - $14.9 million

Texas - $18.2 million

Utah - $9.6 million

Virginia - $17.5 million

Washington - $17.3 million

Wisconsin - $13.8 million

These grants are all part of the cooperative agreement program in which awardees will maintain a relationship with the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) through annual project updates. The cooperative agreement also allows grantees to share useful resources, such as informative documents on the design and development of longitudinal data systems, and non-governmental technical consultants that assist with all stages of the system. The agreement also offers grantees the ability to collaborate with colleagues across states.

Grants awarded in 2010 also include the requirement to expand longitudinal systems from K-12 to P-20 (pre-school through career). New systems funded by the 2010 ARRA grants will match students with instructors and monitor improved academic achievement based on student/teacher placement.

For more information on the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems Grant Program and abstracts for individual state projects, please visit the program's website.

Security, Standards and Budget Initiatives to Spark Cloud Computing Adoption

Yesterday, I attended a cloud computing forum and workshop hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The most memorable line I heard all day came from an industry panelist who said, "Cloud Computing is basically the Internet eating IT." Despite that alarming image, NIST, the General Services Administration (GSA), the Federal CIO Council and the Cloud Computing Interagency Council, and the Office for Management and Budget (OMB) are forging ahead with their efforts to provide standardization and security to agencies moving to the cloud. The message was clear: the federal government wants to include industry in the process.

Vivek Kundra delivered the keynote, in which he stressed the criticality of standards, interoperability and data portability in moving forward. These factors shape the major initiatives underway that focus on increasing the adoption of cloud computing.

Standards Acceleration to Jumpstart Adoption of Cloud Computing (SAJACC) SAJACC is a NIST-led initiative that will validate and communicate interim specifications to agencies in the areas of security, interoperability and data portability. The idea here is that, rather than waiting (possibly years) for formal standards to be developed by concensus, NIST would conduct use tests to validate the viability of cloud computing against specific requirements and share test results with agencies and the public.

NIST will identify use cases (9 have been identified already) for evaluation and test those cases against specifications in the following categories:

  • File/Object System (e.g. sharing access, accessing by name/pattern, etc.)
  • Job Control Programming (e.g. set-up controls, specifications)
  • Cloud-2-Cloud (e.g. storage peering, cloud bursts, cloud brokers, backup/restore, etc.)
  • Administration (e.g. user account management, compliance, SLA comparison, etc.)
  • Data Management (e.g. data in, data out, archiving, etc.)

NIST also plans to accept use cases from vendors, although the process for doing so is still under development. Once the tests are completed, NIST will communicate those results to agencies considering cloud computing projects as well as the public via a web portal.

Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) FedRamp, which is at the end of the conceptual phase, will use NIST's risk management framework to provide centralized security certification and authorization government-wide. NIST will provide the technical advice, and planning is underway to develop the implementation framework.

How it works: FedRAMP works with agencies to develop government-wide baseline security requirements and works with the cloud computing vendors to assess and authorize their systems based on those requirements. Vendor products would be listed as "FedRamp authorized." Rather than complete the entire end-to-end certification process themselves, agencies would have the option of leveraging the work already completed by FedRAMP, and add any incremental steps needed to address agency-specific requirements. Agencies maintain the authority and responsibility for ensuring that systems meet their needs but much of the initial legwork will already be done. The goal is to limit some of the duplicative risk management efforts, acquisition delays caused by lengthy compliance processes, and inconsistent application of federal security requirements that have plagued agencies in the past.

According to Peter Mell, Sr. Computer Scientist at NIST, defense and intelligence agencies were also involved in the development of FedRAMP in order to unify the security control framework that will be used government-wide.

NIST, GSA and the Cloud Computing Interagency Council will be developing implementation details in the coming weeks and months. Other questions to be answered: Who's going to run FedRamp? How will it be funded?

Federal Budget Planning During his presentation, Vivek Kundra also mentioned a new Federal CIO Council report, "The State of Public Sector Cloud Computing". This report outlines the role of cloud computing in the budget process for FY2011 and beyond. Agencies will be required to complete alternative analyses that include cloud computing-based alternatives as part of future budget submissions.

  • By September 2011: alternatives analyses for all newly planned or performing major IT investments
  • By September 2012: alternatives analyses for all IT investments making enhancements to an existing investment
  • By September 2013: alternatives analyses for all IT investments in steady-state

The morning session included a panel of industry representatives from Intel, Microsoft, the Cloud Security Alliance, and the Center for Democracy and Technology. Many of the questions centered around what NIST and other federal agencies should do to propel cloud computing forward. Panelists' wish list:

  • Keep going with FEDRAMP (security certification effort), but don't stop there.
  • Develop standards in collaboration with both industry and international stakeholders
  • Recognize that interoperability needs can vary case by case; no one size fits all
  • Don't stifle innovation by setting standards too quickly; focus on building the framework
  • ID management, access control and cryptographic key management are the main security issues surround cloud computing and can have a serious impact on scalability
  • Push vendors to be more transparent about their security controls
  • Traditional notions based on physical boundaries will need to change
  • SLAs must include meaningful metrics for performance and security
NIST and other agencies seem committed to successful implementation of these initiatives, in partnership with industry. Success will largely depend on agency buy-in, which federal cloud computing champions are anticipating. However, if cloud computing is indeed "eating IT," part of the sale to the IT personnel who have to implement it should include the image of him or her emerging as the person who can help personnel do their jobs more efficiently, rather than the person to blame when their Crackberrys won't work.

State PDM Programs; Not Enough?

Gossip-fanatics and tabloid-followers know just how many celebrity deaths can be attributed to prescription drug abuse. Some of the most notorious cases include Playboy Playmate Anna Nicole Smith, actor Heath Ledger and most recently, Michael Jackson. Unfortunately, prescription drug abuse is a problem affecting many more people than those covered by paparazzi.

Much of the abuse surrounding prescription drugs involves "doctor shopping," when patients see multiple doctors to receive more than one prescription. Typically, these individuals will either abuse the prescriptions themselves, or sell to others.

To date, 40 States have passed legislation to allow Prescription Drug Monitoring (PDM) programs, but only 34 are operating. The positive effects of PDM programs enacted in states have been widely identified. There have been significant decreases in per capita supply of prescription pain relievers and stimulants, which in turn reduces the probability of abuse of these drugs.

The purpose of such statewide PDM programs is to assist doctors in identifying individuals who abuse drugs, and eliminating their access to them. However, many states have reported that after implementing a drug monitoring program, patients tend to move their "doctor shopping" to bordering states. For example, in the Washington Metropolitan area, drug abuse patients have the ability to go to multiple states and access illegal prescriptions without fear of an interoperable database system. Due to this, there is now a push to extend these programs beyond state lines.

In 2005, President Bush enacted the National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Act (NASPER) to promote and fund state programs and advocate for a federal PDM database. At the time, no acts to implement the bill took place.

The National Health Information Technology Conference was held at the Massachusetts Health Data Consortium in April 2010. GovWin was represented by one of our analysts, who reported that talk of a national PDM program was one of the major topics discussed. Now, NASPER proponents are preparing to file for reauthorization of the bill with Congress, the effects of which should allow states to create and standardize PDM programs nationwide.

GovWin is very involved in tracking states that are in the first stage (passing legislation) second stage (acquiring/enacting the program) and third stage (re-bidding a PDM program contract) of authorizing PDM programs. Here are a few PDMP opportunities GovWin is tracking:

In Wisconsin, legislation has passed the Legislature. The program is awaiting Governor Jim Doyle's signature (follow here).

Maryland has not passed legislation. The state secured $50,000 from the Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Fund in the BJA in January 2010.

In Georgia, the Senate recently defeated Legislative Bill H.R. 614, which would have established a PDMP for the state. However, the House of Representatives may try to attach the bill to other legislation in order to move forward with the state PDMP. GovWin is monitoring the state's progress here.

In Montana, no legislation has been brought to the Legislature. State Attorney General Steve Bullock says he will propose legislation during the next legislative session.

South Dakota recently passed a bill to create a statewide database. GovWin is monitoring for the release of a RFP here.

In Missouri,, despite attempts to move towards a state PDMP, there has been no legislation.

For the industry, vendors will see a greater need for state interoperability within geographic regions. For example, Tennessee borders Missouri, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas. A statewide PDM program for Tennessee will positively affect the state. However, a "spillover" effect of doctor shopping into the bordering states may be something to watch, and in turn, prepare for. Nationally, it is difficult to catch a criminal without the cooperation of involved states. This holds true for drug abusing criminals as well. If a state-only program is employed, it is difficult to catch criminals who find loop-holes with PDM programs.

In the future, it can be concluded that a national PDM program will be necessary to put an end to some forms of drug abuse. At a time when many database systems are becoming interoperable, many questions of authority are coming up (state vs. federal), and must be answered before they are truly effective. The issue of privacy is one of the greatest opponents of the PDM program. Therefore, database security could become the most important aspect of the PDM program's procurement requirements in the future.

Further GovWin resources for PDM Programs include information on the National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Grant, The Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program , and the Prescription Drug Monitoring Vertical Profile. And finally, the Health and Human services Department's new grant program is also looking to establish funding to help states create PDM programs. HHS should be making their first awards by September 2010.

Where Exactly is Public Health's Place in Health IT Adoption?

The issue of public health not being a central focus in the current plan for HIT was brought up at multiple points during the 2010 Health Information Technology: Creating Jobs, Reducing Costs, and Improving Quality National Conference, hosted by Governor Deval L. Patrick. Representatives from various state public health departments made strong efforts to ask questions about the apparent absence of public health in HIT adoption. Unfortunately, public health has received little attention in the discussion of HIT, which is interesting considering it plays such a vital role in improving population health. Public health is seen as a way to employ the element of prevention, which is a focal point in the adoption of HIT.

United States Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin was a guest speaker at the conference and she voiced her personal support for public health incorporation. She agreed that measurements must expand beyond health departments since there are other factors affecting people's health (i.e. water, weather, outbreaks, etc.). Benjamin believes that including these factors would lead to tremendous benefits and she would like to see more discussion around it. She also spoke about how HIT should be more about becoming aware of where disparities are and "filling in those gaps." For example, there could be a way that communities are able to monitor diseases and areas where more vaccinations are needed. Dr. Benjamin also noted that health officials are trying to move the current system from one of "sick care" to one of "wellness and prevention," which she said will require an entire shift of thought. Further, she said that HIT is more about taking care of people not only when they are sick, but when they are well. She also noted the benefits of HIT reducing costs.

One of the final sessions was centered on public health's place in HIT. The discussion was led by John Auerbach, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. There was talk concerning public health's vision, what it will look like in the next five to ten years, and if there will be any movement towards monitoring health trends and real time surveillance. Whether or not measurements will extend to incorporate chronic diseases and geographic and demographic trends were also discussed. By incorporating these types of measurements, health officials will be able to quickly disseminate alerts and epidemiology information so that people can be on the alert.

Moreover, it was noted that public health would be a great way to simplify administrative functions so that clinicians can duplicate information. Auerbach described this as an "ease of reporting when certain diagnoses exist" and said that facilities should have them synchronized by having a variety of sources cross-referenced. By doing this, the element of prevention can truly be seen and enhance overall population health. Another important aspect of prevention is ensuring that information gathered is timely and accurate; otherwise the purpose would be defeated. The need for contingency in public health and HIT, along with the need to articulate its business case, was also discussed. In order for public health to effectively prevent diseases, data must be sufficient and accurate. Further, getting public health connected to HIT is imperative to fully exercise the idea of preventative care.

Overview of the 2010 HIT: Creating Jobs, Reducing Costs, and Improving Quality National Conference

The 2010 Health Information Technology: Creating Jobs, Reducing Costs, and Improving Quality National Conference, hosted by Governor Deval L. Patrick, was held April 29-30, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts. The focal point of the conference examined the role of states in adopting, supporting and creating meaningful use of health information technology (HIT), and how economic development implications are inherently transforming our health care delivery system.

Key topics of the conference included how to improve overall population health, creating more patient value and awareness of HIT, enhancing HIT privacy and security, and incorporating public health in the HIT equation. The conference consisted of several presentations and breakout sessions from federal and state officials, along with prominent health care leaders, including National Coordinator for Health IT Dr. David Blumenthal, Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Judy Ann Bigby, Dr. John Halamaka, Dr. Paul Tang, Dr. Marc Overhage, Dr. Karen Bell, and many others.

Dr. Blumenthal kicked off the conference with a speech about the state and national vision for HIT and HIE, and explained how Massachusetts was a key leader in health care reform and medicine. Blumenthal shared a personal story about his start in the health care industry as a primary care physician at the Massachusetts General Hospital. There, he was very familiar with the "paper records system;" however, when exposed to electronic health records (EHR), he realized how it could essentially save patients' lives, in addition to thousands of dollars in the health care system. Blumenthal said these "small victories" can eventually spread throughout the health care system while cutting costs and increasing quality care.

Blumenthal outlined the following five domains that he believes influenced the creation of HIT objectives/criteria:

  1. Improving quality/efficiency and reducing disparities
  2. Engaging physicians and families
  3. Care Coordination
  4. Improving patient health
  5. Protecting privacy/security information
He also clarified that HIE do not automatically have a "high level of exchange," but have the potential and capacity, so long as requirements are defined. Blumenthal stressed the importance of interoperability, and how the tighter the standards are laid out; the more vendors will create interoperable systems. He noted that although these standards will be set in place, they will not take away from the element of "innovation," and vendors will still be able to expand beyond the initial scope of requirements. Ultimately, the idea is for information to be "liquid" and flow readily from system to system, without neglecting elements of privacy and security. Blumenthal stressed that there is no place for a HIE system to not be trusted. He also spoke a bit about the role of Regional Extenstion Centers (RECs), and how they are designed to bring HIT to health care providers, primarily in smaller and private practices. These RECs should be serving as "shoulder sources" and are a way for physicians to obtain advice on how they can utilize meaningful use in their hospitals/practices. Blumenthal noted that there are approximately 60 RECs funded throughout the United States at this time.

Blumenthal concluded with a statement on how his administration will be working hard with states to make them realize that they must work as a team and provide leadership while monitoring and measuring progress in their communities. He conveyed a great deal of optimism and confidence in HIT, and shared his ultimate vision is for HIT to be seen as so "powerful and useful that health professionals can't wait to turn them on in the morning."

Furthermore, the conference shed light on pertinent issues and concerns currently being raised in HIT. A great deal of time and money is being spent in health care, and as a result, it is important that attention is given to all areas of concern; otherwise, it will be difficult to effectively carry out HIT implementation. Vendors must evaluate current and future systems in a way that captures all requirements and objectives set forth for HIEs. It will be the vendors that utilize and tweak the standards that will shape the HIT market. With that, health officials are paying particularly close attention to systems that comply with these standards, ensure proper patient care, and inherently improve overall population health. GovWin released a recap of the conference, which you can download here.

Did Someone Say Cooperative Purchasing?

The state and local government conference season is in full swing; and after participating in the PTI Technology Solutions and Innovations conference, the National Association of State Purchasing Officials (NASPO) Marketing to the States conference, the National Association of State CIO Midyear conference, and the Tech Data Technology Solutions conference, I am curious to know if anyone else heard mention of cooperative purchasing or leveraged contracts?

State and local purchasing and IT governance organizations are strapped for fiscal and human capital. The need for increased efficiency is an understatement. It seems that many state and local government stakeholders have come to the collective conclusion that they must leverage existing contracts and consider cooperative purchasing options if they have not done so before. What do governments stand to gain from this cooperative purchasing strategy? • Administrative savings by building on another government's competitive process • Access pricing based on the leveraged purchasing power of a collective group • Drastically cutting purchase time

With whom are state and local governments looking to cooperate? • Statewide term contracts • NASPO/Western States Contracting Alliance (WSCA) contracts • U.S. Communities • GSA Cooperative Purchasing • Hundreds of regional and vertical cooperative purchasing partnerships

Take a closer look at the numbers and context surrounding cooperative purchasing on May 26, 2010 with the GovWin webinar: GSA Schedule 70 and other cooperative purchasing vehicles as utilized by state and local governments.

If you liked REAL-ID, you're going to love BELIEVE

For a while now, GovWin has speculated that federal immigration reform would have some impact on the states and localities. With this issue getting hotter than a habanero pepper down in Arizona, I figured it was time to peruse the recently released "Conceptual Proposal for Immigration Reform" as put forward by Democratic Senators Reid (NV), Schumer (NY), and Menendez (NJ).

Now, keep in mind this is just the first salvo in what is sure to be an extended battle that could very well end in no immigration reform legislation being passed this year. But, it is good to start getting our bearings as to what the likely state and local IT impacts might be when/if some sort of immigration reform gets done down the road.

The most striking item in the proposal is the Biometric Enrollment, Locally-stored Information, and Electronic Verification of Employment (BELIEVE) System as a means of verification. Let me quote from the proposal directly...

"Prospective employees will present a machine-readable, fraud proof, biometric Social Security card to their employers, who will swipe the cards through a card-reader to confirm the cardholder's identity and work authorization. The cardholder's work authorization will be verified by matching a digital encryption key contained within the card to a digital encryption key contained within the work authorization database being searched. The cardholder's identity will be verified by matching the biometric identifier stored within the micro-processing chip on the card to the identifier provided by the cardholder that shall be read by the scanner used by the employer." (PDF p. 11)

After more than ten years of observing government IT, I have developed a helpful law regarding IT system nomenclature as follows: "The likelihood of a given IT system proving effective is inversely related to the cleverness of the acronym by which it is named." In fact, the acronym for this system is so tortured, that I seriously doubt anything like it will ever exist. DHS should simply beef up the mundanely named E-Verify system.

All kidding aside, turning the Social Security card into a national workforce ID card is a non-starter. I can only assume it is put forward to provide some swing-vote Senators with something egregious to hack away at in order to create space for a compromise. At any rate, the BELIEVE system is fed-centric in order to avoid the same sort of Keystone Cops runaround created by trying to force states to build toward a common ID standard with REAL-ID.

Here are the items from the proposal with clear state and local IT impact:

  • "All criminals in federal, state, and local prisons will be checked for lawful immigration status and will be deported if they are here illegally" (PDF p. 6). This will require integrating the verification process into all correctional processes and with DHS's national verification system.
  • "The government will require any state or local entity that participates in the 287(g) program to collect and maintain such records and data as are reasonably necessary to ensure that actions under the agreement comply with federal law" (PDF p. 8). This would represent a new document exchange for all criminal records systems with DHS's national verification system.
  • States will be required to "retain birth and death data within three years of enactment" of reform (PDF p. 17). Of course, this means retain them in a way that will play nicely with the new national verification system. Birth and death records are basically the bookends of a person's legal identity in society. This will force states to centralize state and county-based processes and systems on a new national standard.

Let the debate begin!

More than 20 vendors have expressed their interest in MTA's $20 million Wireless Broadband project

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is currently soliciting bids for Wireless Broadband Services for the MTA Long Island Rail Road and MTA Metro-North Railroad. MTA has estimated this project to exceed $20 million. On May 3, 2010, MTA released Addendum #1, which extends the proposal due date to May 31, 2010. The addendum also provides some long-awaited information on the vendors who responded to the Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) that was issued in July 2009.

The vendors who responded to the RFEI include:

  • ALSTROM Transport Information and Security Inc
  • AT&T
  • Cablevision
  • EIA Datacom Inc
  • Ericsson Inc
  • Icomera
  • JiWire Inc
  • Long Range Communications
  • Manovega Communications
  • Mastech Enterprises Inc
  • Nomad Digital Limited
  • PierCon Solutions LLC
  • The Railband Group LLC
  • Sprint
  • SurfLink LLC
  • Terminal Exchange Systems
  • Verizon Wireless
  • WAAV Inc
  • WNIS Companies

The vendors who responded to the RFEI and also met with MTA include:

  • AT&T
  • Cablevision
  • Ericsson Inc
  • Nomad Digital Limited
  • The Railband Group LLC
  • Verizon Wireless
  • WAAV Inc

The vendors who attended the pre-proposal conference for the current RFP include:

  • AT&T
  • Bombardier
  • Cablevision
  • Com-Logic Partners LLC
  • Concourse Communications
  • Cozen O'Connor
  • General Dynamics
  • GE Transportation- Intelligent Controls Systems
  • Greenberg Trauig LLP
  • Interactive Elements Inc
  • Mobilite
  • Nomad Digital LTD
  • Railband Group
  • Siemens
  • Snyder & Snyder LLP
  • Verizon
  • Verizon Wireless
  • WAAV Inc

As you can see, this project is highly competitive and there is a lot of money at stake. GovWin estimates that a contract for this project will not be awarded until fall 2010. For more information on this project, please see GovWin Opportunity #57465.

Pennsylvania to Hold an Electronic Benefit Transfer Vendor Forum

The State of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Welfare (DPW) released a notice that it will hold an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Contracting Vendor Forum on May 20, 2010 in preparation for an upcoming procurement. Vendors interested in participating must RSVP by May 17, 2010 with the names of planned attendees. The forum is meant to be a collaboration between state agencies in an effort to improve the competitive bidding process for the upcoming EBT Request for Proposals (RFP). The agenda includes an overview of the Department's procurement goals and project objectives, a tentative timeline, transition phase requirements, and continuous improvements for the on-going operations phase. The operations phase discussion will cover planned IT technical changes, rebuilding DPW's knowledge and expertise, and the CAO methods improvement project. The Department intends to take vendor feedback into consideration when developing EBT improvements and new program ideas in the re-procurement. For additional information on the project and related procurement, please see GovWin Opportunity #56164.

The state currently contracts with JP Morgan Chase for EBT services. The contract will expire on December 31, 2011. JP Morgan Chase provides the state with operational services for the delivery of cash payments and supplemental nutrition assistance through ATMs and POS devices. Other services include:

  • Installing and maintaining necessary hardware for the conversion and adoption of the system
  • Developing retailer participation agreements
  • Training retailers and office staff
  • Providing an intranet website for program communications

For further details on the incumbent contract, please see GovWin Opportunity #10226.

GovWin's Take:

The forum is an excellent opportunity for vendors to showcase their interest in working with the state, market expertise, EBT offerings, and further develop good relations with the Department. The discussions will allow vendors to offer their own insights while gaining a better understanding of the state's perspective and pain points in preparation for the upcoming solicitation.

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