Chicago will privatize overnight transport services for the homeless and use the $1.7 million savings to reduce “youth homelessness” that impacts more than 17,000 Chicago Public School students living “doubled up” with other families. Last year, a mid-year cut in state funding forced Mayor Rahm Emanuel to lay off 24 city employees who worked the overnight shift picking up homeless residents and transporting them to shelters…Now, the city is getting out of the “human services mobile outreach” business that includes overnight transport, well-being checks and delivery of food boxes. The job will be done by Catholic Charities, which has promised to do it cheaper.
The state Civil Service Commission has given its final approval to the privatization of two state-run centers for the developmentally disabled that the state claims will save about $6.9 million and abolish 980 job slots. Laura Brackin, an assistant secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals’ Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities, said in a letter to commission Director Shannon Templet that 620 positions are being abolished at the Hammond-based North Lakes Supports and Services Center; another 360 positions are being cut from the state payroll at Northwest Supports and Services Center in Bossier City.
The Hammond facility, which provides residential services to up to 229 individuals, will be operated by Evergreen Presbyterian Ministries, DHH officials said. The Bossier City facility will be run by the Association for Retarded Citizens (ARC) of Louisiana. The center now provides residential services for up to 134 individuals, officials said.
The Legislature approved the privatization of the two facilities at its recent session, and Civil Service Wednesday signed off on the plans that do away with classified job positions. The transition is expected to be complete by Oct. 1, according to Civil Service documents.
The state’s recent decision to embrace privately run drug-treatment centers is just the latest in a growing string of moves to turn over public operations to private companies — all with an eye on the financial bottom line. So far this year, the Legislature agreed to have someone else run the state medical school’s teaching hospital in Newark, the largest provider of charity care in New Jersey. And state officials decided to close down two centers caring for the developmentally disabled and allow private non-profits to provide services.
Governor Christie has been on the leading edge of the so-called privatization trend since his first days in office in 2010, when revenues were drastically reduced by the weak economy….
These efforts echo increasing attempts by politicians across the country to contract with private operators to help cut spending and save money as a sputtering economy has stretched government resources thin.
It’s not just state government that’s moving forward with privatization efforts, either.
… But the overarching question remains: Does this move to replace government with private industry work?…
Nebraska’s last private child welfare contractor will get less money this year to care for abused and neglected children in the Omaha area. Starting July 1, the state began paying the Omaha-based Nebraska Families Collaborative by the case instead of a fixed amount per month. The change, according to a World-Herald analysis, means the difference between a potential $65 million for the year and an estimated $58 million under the new contract….
…The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services contracts with the collaborative to manage child welfare and juvenile-services cases for Douglas and Sarpy Counties. The collaborative contract is all that remains of the state’s 2½-year experiment with privatizing child welfare services. State workers again manage cases in the rest of the state….
Another blow to child welfare privatization
Source: Martha Stoddard, World-Herald, February 21, 2012
Top Nebraska officials plan to change course on child welfare after the state’s experiment in privatization suffered a major blow Tuesday. The Kansas-based KVC announced that the company will stop managing child welfare cases as of Feb. 29. The announcement leaves the state with only one private contractor, [Omaha-based Nebraska Families Collaborative] meaning that state workers will once again be responsible for ensuring the safety and well-being of the majority of abused and neglected Nebraska children. But, in a key difference from past practice, State Department of Health and Human Services officials plan to hire enough workers to keep caseloads at manageable levels….
KVC had sought contract changes that would have increased the state’s costs by well over the $19 million figure, HHS officials said….KVC officials previously said they had lost $14 million on their contract with Nebraska. The company threatened last fall to drop its contract at the end of December but agreed to continue after the state provided an additional $1.8 million and promised to negotiate on the case rates….
– Child welfare changes a step closer
Source: Martha Stoddard, World-Herald, March 8, 2012
– NE turns to more traditional child welfare system
Source:: Grant Schulte, Associated Press, April 15, 2012
…In the dreary world of the real, privatization means turning over a government function to the private sector. It has such a long history that it’s a wonder we still have any public sector left…. Politicians of both parties are privatization fans, although the Republicans are more so….In honor of the campaign season, maybe this is a good time to point out some examples of privatization disasters. Texas tried to turn eligibility screening for social services over to a private company, creating all sorts of messes until it gave up the experiment. The most apocryphal story involved a privately run call center that told applicants to send their documentation to a number that turned out to be the fax at a warehouse in Seattle. …
State’s effort to modernize the way it processes Medicaid claims will take nearly a decade, cost almost $900 million….The project has gone in fits and starts since it began in 2004: cancelled and rebid, then amended and extended. Costs have kept rising, so much so that the expense of setting up the new system and running it for seven years, plus maintaining the old system, now adds up to an eye-popping figure: $851 million.
Delays, overruns plague NC Medicaid claims project
Source: Gary D. Robertson, Associated Press, December 14, 2011
North Carolina Republican lawmakers grilled state Medicaid leaders Tuesday about delays in replacing the government health program’s claims processing system, which has faced operational hurdles since the project first began almost eight years ago.
The system’s launch is running nearly two years behind schedule. State auditors also estimate it will cost more than double the originally projected amount because of expanded contract expenses and the expense of keeping the current aging system running with its longtime vendor….
…The original contract, announced in late 2008 and awarded to Computer Sciences Corp., was estimated at $265 million….
…In 2004, the state awarded a $171 million contract to Affiliated Computer Services to replace the current system, but the contract was terminated in 2006 after delays and additional costs. The state had to pay $16 million for project costs and a legal settlement….
From the press release:
Are food stamps lining the pockets of the nation’s wealthiest corporations instead of closing the hunger gap in the United States? Why does Walmart benefit from more than $200 million in annual food stamp purchases in Oklahoma alone? Why does one bank, J.P. Morgan Chase, hold exclusive contracts in 24 states to administer public benefits?
These are a few of the questions explored in a new report called: “Food Stamps, Follow the Money: Are Corporations Profiting from Hungry Americans?” from Michele Simon, president of Eat Drink Politics, a watchdog consulting group. This first-of-its kind investigation details how the food stamp program–originally designed to help farmers and those in need–lines the pockets of junk food makers, food retailers, and banks.
– Blog post
– Executive summary
Some Suffolk lawmakers are worried about County Executive Steve Bellone’s plan to privatize social services security guards, saying they know little about the firm that will soon replace unionized workers. Without legislative action, 21 guards at five county social service buildings will be let go June 30. Dreamland Security, the Bronx company that watches Suffolk’s nursing home and a health center, will take on the social service centers — but only through the end of August, when its existing contract expires.
Source: PolitiFact, June 11, 2012
…. The controversy popped up again in 2006 when then-Sen. Edward Kennedy criticized Romney for “jumping on the offshoring bandwagon,” according to a Boston Herald story. A Romney official told the newspaper that by then, only a handful of overseas workers were still working on a Medicaid subcontract. The food stamp contract previously held by Citigroup (later JP Morgan Chase) had expired and the new contract was awarded to a company whose call center was in Utah. Obama’s ad charges that “Romney outsourced call center jobs to India.” The Obama campaign’s wording suggests a broader, more deliberate policy when the state was sending some work overseas. But in choosing to veto the bill, Romney let the arrangement continue. The statement leaves out important information. We rate it Half True.
The Mayor’s Task Force on Efficiency in Government has recommended the merger of five city hall departments, and the use of employee performance reviews, as ways to cut costs….The task force recommended: merging the information systems and tax assessor departments into the finance department; merging the personnel, legal and human resources departments; transferring the arts office and building division into the planning department; transferring the parks division and parking department into the public works department; and merging the senior services and recreation departments….