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2010 National Association of Counties Conference Wrap-up

On July 16-20, 2010, the National Association of Counties (NACo) held its annual conference in Reno, Nevada. NACo is currently the only national organization representing county government. It maintains a strong membership and is very well represented throughout the country, with more than 2,300 counties comprising more than 80 percent of the nation's population. This is the organization's 75th year in existence and it was well celebrated at this convention. There were many topics discussed at this conference, with budget issues and broadband as the primary themes. The conference was spread out over a five day period, four of which I attended. It should also be noted that elections for NACo officers were held on Tuesday, July 20, 2010, and there was campaigning throughout the conference.

The first day was comprised of the Technology Summit portion of the Conference. The keynote speaker for the first portion of the summit was Bill Hutchison of Toronto. He discussed the city's new Blue Edge initiative, a project aimed at revitalizing the waterfront area of downtown Toronto. It is the biggest of its kind in North America and is meant to heavily emphasize broadband in the area.

At this point, the summit was broken up into different breakout sessions. I attended three of the breakout sessions, the first focusing on lowering government cost of doing business. It was pointed out that currently state governments are under attack and being challenged with budget issues. Different avenues of response were explored from a government point-of-view. The next session was on enhancing quality of life for citizens. This session addressed current concerns from the counties' perspective. In addressing public safety, the message was simple: optimize the use of assets and make the most of what you have. It was also reiterated from the session before that quality of life would be enhanced by beginning with a balanced budget. The final breakout session was cut short because it was getting late in the day, but it focused on sustaining economic development. Along with Mr. Hutchison presenting his presentation from before, Economic Development Director for the Province of Nova Scotia Nancy Flam discussed the Broadband for Rural Nova Scotia initiative and how it will deliver high speed internet access to 100 percent of the residents.

In conclusion, this conference was a delight to attend and I found it to be an amazing learning experience. There was a nice mix of large and small counties nationwide. Additionally, I believe having vendors in attendance added to the experience and allowed attendees to discuss topics facing their respective county in a more intimate manner than by phone or email.

For a full recap of the conference please visit the following site.

Kundra’s Comments ConfirmGovWin’s Analysis – IT Spending Will Rise

Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra said at an industry event yesterday that information technology spending is expected to rise beyond the current $80 billion level as agencies turn to IT to reduce costs elsewhere. GovWin predicted this rise last month in our annual Federal IT market forecast report when we concluded that we expect the market to grow from $85.8 billion in 2010 to $111.6 billion by 2015 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.4%. (We include the federal courts, Congress and the Intelligence Community in our assessment.)

OK ... yes, this is a bit gratuitous. I admit it. But when you spend a lot of time trying to predict the future it's nice when they tell you that you're on the right track!

Several of my fellow analysts and I have been out and about presenting our June findings to our member companies and at industry events and have found many in the federal community have a less-than-optimistic view of the future. Frankly, we took some hits for stepping out with optimism when some other analyst firms repeated the conventional wisdom of "doom and gloom." But after looking at historical trends and the current drivers within the market we were convinced that there are still growth opportunities for those firms which have the savvy and skill to provide value and achieve a strong return on investment for their federal customers.

Will the federal dollars flow freely and without strings? Absolutely not. OMB has released several directives in the last few weeks that bring IT programs under increased scrutiny. We should expect this to continue. Some initiatives will get cut. But those programs that currently show strong ROI or that show signs of being on the cusp of ROI may see increased support. And after review, it's even possible that struggling programs may be deemed worthy of more funds to get them back on track if the alternatives are even more costly. Throughout the review process and beyond, federal IT managers will continue to look to their vendor partners to help them achieve success.

So our message to those in this market is one of reasoned optimism as opposed to others who have predicted a gloomy picture. We're with Vivek Kundra on this one.

eHealth Initiative Health Information Exchange Forum Recap

The eHealth Initiative Health Information Exchange (HIE) Forum took place July 22, 2010 in Washington, DC. The one-day event coincided with the release of results of the 7th Annual eHealth Initiative Survey on HIEs report, The State of HIEs in 2010: Connecting the Nation to Meaningful Use. The report delves into the progress and challenges experienced by HIE entities nationwide, as well as recent activities in light of economic stimulus funding. The event included several panel discussions on HIE sustainability, inter-state coordination, connecting to the National Health Information Network (NHIN), engaging consumers, implementation and privacy. Moderators and panelists included a wealth of state health IT coordinators, vendors, directors and chief executive officers. Major takeaways centered on sustainability models, meaningful use's impact on HIEs, and the value of inter-state collaboration.

The financial sustainability of HIEs remains a key challenge facing the market. The eHealth Initiative Survey results provided a variety of responses with no clear correlation. Some HIE entities engage in subscription feeds, while others require transaction fees. As a result of the stimulus funding, some states have elected to partner with state designated entities (SDEs), which adds another element to the mix. At this time, it is unclear what the impact of SDEs will be, or how they will keep the doors open once federal funding runs out. Similar to the HIE entities; the failure of SDEs being financially viable could be a major detriment to the market. One thing is certain; the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) doesn't have the money to fund full, comprehensive exchanges. Therefore, states and localities need to leverage resources to fill in the gaps. States will be looking to the vendor community for market innovation and new ways to address these pressing challenges. In addition, states that have yet to implement HIEs will be looking to states ahead of the curve for insights on best practices and business models.

GovWin HIE Pre-RFP Opportunities:

  • Illinois Opportunity #59517 - Statewide HIE
  • Ohio Opportunity #59145 - Statewide HIE
  • Mississippi Opportunity #61705 - Statewide Interoperable HIE
  • Connecticut Opportunity #58739 - Health Information Technology Exchange of CT
  • Massachusetts Opportunity #59998 - Statewide HIE

GovWin's Take:

HIEs play a crucial role in moving the health IT agenda forward as a vehicle to improve health care outcomes. This role cannot be understated. HIEs are a means to an end; a way to transform the health care industry and lay the groundwork for health care reform. State grantees will continue to push forward with HIE strategic and operational planning documents, which are due to the ONC towards the end of summer/early fall. Vendors will continue to play a major role in providing technical assistance planning, consultation, systems integration and implementation, IT equipment, and software.

The 13th National Child Welfare Data and Technology Conference Wrap-up

The 13th National Child Welfare Data and Technology Conference took place July 19-21, 2010 in Bethesda, Maryland. The conference was hosted by the National Resource Center for Child Welfare Data and Technology (NRC-CWDT) and sponsored by the Children's Bureau's (CB) Administration for Children and Families (ACF). The NRC-CWDT, via a contract with the CB, provides technical assistance to state and tribal child welfare agencies, along with courts on data and systems used to administer program services and improve outcomes for children and families. Westat subcontracts to NRC-CWDT, providing additional technical assistance and support. Speakers included ACF Commissioner Bryan Samuels, NRC-CWDT Director Lynda Arnold, along with Westat staff and state program managers.

In the keynote address, Samuels energized the audience of court employees, tribal organizations, state welfare agencies, nonprofit officials and vendors by declaring "data and technology are cool." Conference sessions focused on improving data quality in the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) and optimizing utilization of Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information Systems (SACWIS). Major takeaways included the importance of advanced planning documents (APD), information exchange return, and shared IT opportunities for health care and child welfare.

Kelli Stone and Division of State Systems Director Terry Watt stressed the importance of sufficient planning and resources when looking to implement a child welfare system. APD regulations and requirement put forth ACF's expectations, seeking to help entities get the best value and best bang-for-your buck system. When a state or tribal agency estimates system planning, design, implementation and maintenance to reach the $5 million threshold, the formal APD approval process is required to secure the federal financial participation (FFP) match. Even if a state or tribal organization is not going to hit the $5 million threshold, ACF encourages informal communication with federal analysts to ensure a smooth process for technical support.

Modification to APD regulations are currently being developed due to a notice of proposed rulemaking released several years back; however, ACF was unable to provide any additional intel on the nature of the edits. In addition to the APD process, there was a discussion about commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) products within child welfare. A multi-agency memo issued indicates when a COTS solution developer is selected, the purchasing agency still has to be able to fairly and competitively bid for implementation services. Essentially, there needs to be two competitive requests for proposals (RFPs) to ensure the possibility of two different vendors.

GovWin SACWIS Pre-RFP Opportunities:

  • Michigan Opportunity #52548 - SACWIS Design and Development
  • Mississippi Opportunity #62656 - Analysis and Alternatives Study for the Mississippi SACWIS
  • Louisiana Opportunity #60238 - Implementation and Operation of a SACWIS
  • New York Opportunity #49904 - Development and Implementation of a SACWIS

GovWin's Take:

The conference shed light on the realities of the social services environment in today's economic climate. Child welfare agencies are having to do more with less, but continue to meet the rising needs of the families and children they serve. Therefore, child welfare agencies are increasingly turning to cost-effective technology and automated solutions to streamline program processes. This trend encourages stakeholders to realize the value of good data and a solid system to improve program administration and effectiveness. In return, child welfare employees need to be able to count on the systems and data they are entering. It is important to bring both IT and program folks to the table when planning and developing a system to ensure it meets the needs of the end-users and beneficiaries.

Top 5 State and Local Enforcement Federal Funding Requests for FY 2011

GovWin recently released a report titled "Congressional Public Safety Funding Requests: A $1 Billion Lifeline for IT Projects," which analyzes all FY 2011 public safety appropriations requests. The report provides in-depth information on the 1,257 public safety funding requests totaling $1.29 billion. For the sake of this blog and previous blogs this week, GovWin is focusing on the top five projects by value for the top five categories (communications, general IT, information sharing, video, and enforcement) outlined in the report. Below is a list of the top five enforcement projects as defined by GovWin:

City of Picayune, Mississippi - Public Safety Enhancement Technology - $2.978 million

As requested by Roger Wicker (D), funding will be used for the police department to purchase devices and equipment to improve communications and technology to enhance public safety.

Birmingham, Alabama - Shot Spotter Technology - $2 million

As requested by Arthur Davis (D), this requested funding would contribute to the expansion project from the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Law Enforcement Technology Account within the Department of Justice. These funds will provide acoustic sensors to build on the success of this project in city communities that experienced a high rate of violent crimes.

City of Ozark, Alabama - Equipment Upgrades - $2 million

As requested by Bobby Bright (D), this requested funding would allow the City of Ozark Police Department to procure law enforcement technological equipment that will improve the city's ability to provide safety and increase communication with surrounding areas. Equipment that would be procured includes a repeater system, in-car computers, cameras, and radar equipment. With the successful implementation of this project, Ozark police officers will be able to communicate with local, state and federal agencies within their immediate area.

Cuyahoga County, Ohio - Prisoner Reentry Program - $2 million

As requested by Betty Sutton (D) and Dennis Kucinich (D), the purpose of the project is to assist policy makers, community leaders, service providers and faith-based organizations in addressing challenges posed by ex-offenders as they return to the community. The project directs local, state and federal resources toward prudent, comprehensive and cost-effective solutions. The project is a valuable use of taxpayer funds because it creates a seamless system for prisoner reentry and focuses on increasing public safety and reducing recidivism.

City of Jackson, Mississippi - Public Safety Technology - $1.8 million As requested by Rodger Wicker (D), funds will be used for the police department to purchase devices and equipment to enhance public safety.

Of the 91 enforcement projects, these five projects ($10.778 million) represent about 5 percent of the total funding requested ($56.428 million). For more information on the other 86 enforcement projects, please go here. This was the final installment of the State and Local Top 5 Public Safety Projects Requesting Federal Funding. If you missed previous entries of this blog series, please look through blog dates July 12, 2010 through July 16, 2010 for the top 5 projects in communications, general IT, information sharing, video, and enforcement categories.

Top 5 State and Local Public Safety Video Funding Requests for FY 2011

GovWin recently released a report titled "Congressional Public Safety Funding Requests: A $1 Billion Lifeline for IT Projects," which analyzes all FY 2011 public safety appropriations requests. The report provides in-depth information on the 1,257 public safety funding requests totaling $1.29 billion. For the sake of this blog and subsequent blogs this week, GovWin will focus on the top five projects by value for the top five categories (communications, general IT, information sharing, video, and enforcement) outlined in the report. Below is a list of the top five video projects as defined by GovWin:

New York/New Jersey Port Authority - Airport Closed Caption TV (CCTV) Coverage Expansion and Maintenance - $6.5 million

As requested by Congressman Gregory Meeks (D), the funding will be used for CCTV coverage and maintenance costs at John F. Kennedy Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, and LaGuardia Airport. The CCTV coverage will be used in public lobbies and sterile airport areas for surveillance and tracking of individuals who breach security checkpoints.

City of Sacramento, California - Mobile Data Computer and In-Car Camera Project - $4.2 million

As requested by Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D), the Sacramento Police Department has a need for a mobile data computer system and in-car camera replacement camera project.

City of Cleveland, Ohio - Security Equipment - $3.32 million

As requested by Senator Sherrod Brown (D), the city of Cleveland Police Department and the communities of Buckeye, Larchmere, and Shaker Square will use funding to support efforts to deter criminal activity, assist in crime solving, and increase the safety of residents in targeted neighborhoods.

Wisconsin Department of Transportation - Mobile Data and In-Car Camera Video Project - $2.2 million

As requested by Congressman David Obey (D), the Wisconsin Department of Transportation will use these funds to purchase and install digital in-car video systems for the Division of State Patrol fleet of approximately 355 patrol vehicles.

City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - Camera Project - $2 million

As requested by Senator Arlen Specter (D), the city of Pittsburgh's Department of Public Safety has identified 34 business district and neighborhood locations that require more than 84 cameras for coverage. The installation of these cameras would establish safe business districts across the city, encourage neighborhood business development, and assist in the investigation of incidents. This request will support the deployment of camera systems in most of the identified business districts and neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. The funding will pay for the design, installation, maintenance and management of the equipment, network and software over five years.

Of the 118 video projects, these five projects ($18.22 million) represent 23 percent of the total funding requested ($78.61 million). For more information on the other 113 communications projects, please go here. Tomorrow, GovWin will report on the top five enforcement IT projects requesting federal funding.

Top 5 General IT Public Safety Federal Funding Requests for FY 2011

GovWin recently released a report titled "Congressional Public Safety Funding Requests: A $1 Billion Lifeline for IT Projects," which analyzes all FY 2011 public safety appropriations requests.The report provides in-depth information on the 1,257 public safety funding requests totaling $1.29 billion. This week, GovWin is focusing on the top five projects by value for the top five categories (communications, general IT, information sharing, video, and enforcement) outlined in the report. Yesterday, Senior Analyst Jeff Webster reported on communications projects. Today, we highlight the top five general IT projects as defined by GovWin:

Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency - Emergency Operations Center - $12 million

As requested by Sheldon Whitehouse (D) and Jack Reed (D), the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) plans to build and outfit a state emergency operations center (EOC). RIEMA is the state's coordinating agency for all emergencies and is responsible for collaborative communications with all federal, state, and local partners. RIEMA also provides real-time situational awareness to state government.

Randolph County/Southwest Georgia Jail Authority - Jail Technology - $7.1 million

As requested by Sanford Bishop Jr. The purpose of the project is to provide funding for the design and construction of a regional jail for Randolph County, GA

University of Arizona - Border Security and Technology Program - $3 million

As requested by Raul Grijalva, the Border Security and Technology Program (BSTP) will establish a program to identify, evaluate, test and deploy technologies that assist in the effective and efficient management and operation of international borders and ports-of-entry. In addition, the project will facilitate the incubation and commercialization of these technologies while placing special priority on technology being developed by the Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence for Border Security and Immigration, based at the University of Arizona.

County of Lehigh, PA - Software and System Maintenance - $2.5 million

As requested by Arlen Specter (D), funding will be used for software and system maintenance services needed to help establish the Lehigh Valley Regional Crime Center (LVRCC) in Allentown, PA. The center would be a cross-jurisdictional effort involving 53 local law enforcement agencies in Lehigh and Berks Counties. The LVRCC would be a staffed center with a database that integrates local police data and provides extensive search, query, and analysis tools for local crime data. Funding is requested to acquire the tools and products necessary to manage the development and ongoing maintenance of a crime center environment.

Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs - Public Safety Mapping System - $2 million

As requested by Patty Murray (D), the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs would use this funding to map Washington's four regional, four-year universities using the Washington State School Mapping System to protect students and employees during an emergency.

These five projects display the diverse needs public safety agencies nationwide have for general IT projects. Of the 139 general IT projects, these five ($26.6 million) represent roughly 25 percent of the total $105 million in funding requests. Tomorrow, GovWin will report on the top five information sharing funding requests.

Top 5 Communications Federal Funding Requests for FY 2011

GovWin recently released a report titled "Congressional Public Safety Funding Requests: A $1 Billion Lifeline for IT Projects," which analyzes all FY 2011 public safety appropriations requests. The report provides in-depth information on the 1,257 public safety funding requests totaling $1.29 billion. For the sake of this blog and subsequent blogs this week, GovWin will focus on the top five projects by value for the top five categories (communications, general IT, information sharing, video, and enforcement) outlined in the report. Below is a list of the top five communications projects as defined by GovWin:

Arkansas Department of Information Systems - Radio Replacement Project - $24.775 million

As requested by Blanche Lincoln (D), the Arkansas Wireless Information Network (AWIN) is a statewide interoperable communications system that provides communications for 18,000 emergency responders across Arkansas. The AWIN system is comprised of two Smart Zone Controllers and 104 remote communications tower locations. This funding will support the upgrade of Megastar radios to current generation technology.

El Paso, Texas - Public Safety Radio Interoperability System - $15.18 million

As requested by Silvestre Reyes (D), federal mandates require the El Paso Police Department to convert from an analog to digital voice system. This new digital system will allow local responders to communicate with regional and state partners. Funding will assist in this transition and allow the project to move forward at a time when interoperable border communications are a necessity for our homeland security efforts on the southern border.

New Bern, North Carolina - Radio Replacement - $14.9 million

As requested by G.K. Butterfield (D), a new communication center to house the new radio system is essential to services the city of New Bern provides to its citizens, customers, and visitors. The fire department, electric utilities, water and sewer utilities, public works, and the police department will benefit once the new system is in place. The city of New Bern hopes to have the city of Havelock and the Carolina East Medical Center join in implementing this project; both have signed into partnership for a feasibility study of the needs of all communities. Having a state-of-the-art radio system with upgrades, equipment parts and supplies available will greatly support the ability of the city to serve its citizens, utility customers, and visitors on a consistent basis. Having a system that is past its life is proving to be cumbersome when there is a need for repairs or corrections.

Little Rock, Arkansas - Communications Network Upgrade - $13.8 million

As requested by Vic Snyder (D), the requested funding would be used for infrastructure upgrades and to fully convert all subscriber equipment. A P25 digital upgrade will ensure uninterrupted interoperability for all users on the system.

Hildalgo County, Texas - Digital Radio System - $9.97 million

As requested by Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R), funds will be used to purchase digital radio systems for interoperability.

Of the 459 communications projects, these five projects ($78.6 million) represent 13 percent of the total funding requested ($593 million). For more information on the other 454 communications projects, please go here. Tomorrow, GovWin will report on the top five general public safety IT projects requesting federal funding. A good majority of these projects (139) include upgrades and enhancements to emergency operations/fusion centers and total $105 million in funding requests.

GovWin Selected to Present at Arizona APCO-NENA State Training Conference

Next week, GovWin's Justice and Public Safety (JPS) team will attend the Arizona Association of Public Safety Communication Officials/National Emergency Number Association (APCO/NENA) State Training Conference, where I will give a presentation titled "Public Safety Communications Grants: A Comprehensive Overview." This presentation will provide emergency communications officials with an understanding of the federal assistance available for 9-1-1 projects.

Topics discussed will include:

  • The recession's impact on federal grant funding
  • Current grant priorities vs. those of the previous administration
  • 9-1-1 technology funding hot spots
  • Examples of effective grant use
  • Tips and best practices for applying for grants
For anyone attending this conference, I will present on July 19, 2010, at 11 a.m. in room B. Also, please visit Senior Analyst Jeff Webster and myself at booth # 6 during the trade show portion of the conference.

GovWin looks forward to continued interaction with justice and public safety industry organizations. GovWin's JPS team has been invited to present a JPS Market Assessment on June 30, 2010, at the International Justice Information Sharing Initiative (IJIS) Institute 2010 Summer Industry Briefing in Fort Myers, Florida. The JPS team will also present a grants seminar on October 7, 2010, at the Colorado APCO/NENA Conference in Longmont, Colorado.

GovWin Report: Electronic Health Record Incentive Funding and the Certification Program

GovWin's newly released report, Electronic Health Record Incentive Funding and the Certification Program, examines the health information technology (HIT) marketplace and the electronic health record (EHR) incentive payment program, and forecasts the state and local EHR spend from 2010-2015. Highlights include:

  • HIT grant programs established in the economic stimulus package
  • Review of notice of proposed rulemaking for meaningful use
  • Health IT certification program analysis
  • Key players in the health IT market
  • Health IT GovWin opportunities
  • Recommendations for vendors
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) allocated an unprecedented amount of health IT funding that provided momentum to assemble stakeholders and mobilize states. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) section of the stimulus package established the Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments program for the meaningful use of certified EHR technology by providers. Industry reports estimate the federal government will spend approximately $19 billion to $36 billion in payments.

Meaningful use criteria and the newly-defined, two-tier EHR certification program will serve as integral pieces in health care reform when linked to policy changes and payer reform. States, localities, and regional extension centers are moving quickly to capitalize on EHR incentive funding and will continue to seek technical assistance from consultants, systems integrators, IT equipment providers, and software and services providers along the way.

GovWin will host a webinar Thursday, August 12, 2010 coinciding with the release of the EHR report. Please contact your member advisor if you are not able to obtain the report.