Category Archives: Social.Services

Audit: No sign of savings on state Medicaid

Source: By Deborah Yetter, The Courier-Journal (KY), Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A state audit found no evidence of savings in the state Medicaid program promised by the administration of former Gov. Ernie Fletcher, who claimed Medicaid reform as one of his top accomplishments in his failed re-election bid.

…… Luallen, a Democrat, said her office waited until after the Nov. 6 election to release the audit so it would not become an issue in the governor’s race.

……. Medicaid spends about $300 million a year on three private contractors to process claims, manage information, operate a call system for members and operate its prescription drug program. But until recently they operated with little oversight or accountability.

In July, Medicaid hired an outside company, Accenture, to monitor the three other outside contractors — even though Texas fired that company last year for poor performance on a contract.

…….. State Sen. Ernesto Scorsone, a Lexington Democrat on the Health and Welfare Committee, said he’s concerned about the growth in outside contractors for the Medicaid program listed in the audit report.

“I think the only winners are the outside vendors who have made money off the state,” he said.

Rally held in opposition to Bellefontaine plan

Source: Maria Hickey, KWMU, December 17, 2007

A group of parents and employees held a rally Monday opposing plans for privatization at the Bellefontaine Habilitation Center.

The Missouri Department of Mental Health announced in August it would seek private vendors to take on 120 of the residents at private, community-based programs.

But many employees and parents are unhappy with the plan.

Ex-center workers sue

Source: By Niki Kelly, The Journal Gazette (IN), December 18, 2007 6:00 a.m.

Several former employees of the Fort Wayne State Developmental Center filed a class-action lawsuit in Marion Superior Court, seeking monetary damages as the result of an improper privatization process.

…… The lawsuit claims that many employees lost the benefits associated with state employment, and that the contract with Liberty should be declared void.

“The Daniels administration flagrantly violated the law,” said David Warrick, executive director of AFSCME, the union representing the employees.

What the Governor did not veto – contracting out pharmacy services at state DHFS institutions

Source: AFSCME Council 24, AFSCME Legislative Update, November 1, 2007

Another issue of interest to AFSCME that was not vetoed was language in the budget requiring the state DHFS to issue a “request for proposals” and contract out the delivery of pharmaceutical services for residents at all DHFS institutions, including Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Facility, the Wisconsin Resource Center, Winnebago Mental Health Institute, Mendota Mental Health Institute, and all three state Centers for the Developmentally Disabled.

Part of Maxey to be closed under state budget deal

Source: The Associated Press / The Ann Arbor News (MI), October 31, 2007 07:02AM

……. A compromise was reached on the last sticking point: Turning over more of the state’s adoption, foster care and juvenile justice services to private hands. Under the compromise, a medium-security section of the Maxey facility on M-36 would close and 60 youthful offenders would be moved to private facilities.

The more than 130 affected workers would be allowed to transfer elsewhere in the Department of Human Services instead of losing their jobs.

“We are protecting those people who have been public employees for a long time,” said House Appropriations Chairman George Cushingberry Jr., D-Detroit. He said private agencies can help lighten the backlog of cases handled by an overburdened and understaffed DHS.

FSSA rolls out welfare automation in 12 north central counties

Source: By Ken Kusmer, Associated Press (IN), October 29, 2007 4:19 PM

Applying for food stamps or Medicaid was just a telephone call or mouse click away for residents of 12 north central Indiana counties Monday with the state’s initial rollout of its closely watched, privatized welfare eligibility system.

. ……. The Democratically controlled Congress also is watching FSSA’s progress. A provision in the House version of the federal farm bill would force Indiana and other states to reverse steps they’ve taken to privatize food stamps and return that work to state employees.

FSSA system's debut faces delay

Source: By Ken Kusmer, Associated Press (IN), October 19, 2007

The state’s human services agency decided Thursday to postpone the initial rollout of its automated welfare eligibility system by at least a week to Oct. 29 because of software problems.

The Family and Social Services Administration had been anticipating a Monday launch of the automated system for a 12-county area of Northern Indiana centered around Marion. However, software problems prompted the decision to push back the launch by a week, FSSA Secretary Mitch Roob told The Associated Press.

At human services, they need humans to answer phones

Source: By DAVE LIEBER, Star-Telegram (TX), October 14, 2007

…. The ringing phones are fallout from a major experiment in state government that nearly everyone involved calls a disaster. Texas tried to become the first state to outsource to private companies the administration of its top assistance programs such as food stamps, Medicaid and cash assistance for needy families.

The state hired a group of companies, led by technology consulting firm Accenture, for $899 million for five years to run call centers, update the department’s technology systems and perform other duties. But the company’s debut in several Central Texas call centers was such a disaster that state officials called the project off. By then, though, many longtime state employees had left, thinking their jobs were gone.

Privatizing Indiana / A dedicated group of Hoosiers is fighting the outsourcing of the campus's printing services, motor pool, and bookstore.

Source: By Patrick Brantlinger, Academe Online, September/October 2007

Seeking to raise money for new academic buildings and programs, Indiana University’s board of trustees is exploring outsourcing its “auxiliary-service” units. These units manage printing and food services, the university’s bookstores, campus motor pools, and other functions.

To prevent job loss and wage cuts among hundreds of long-term university employees, the pro-labor organization Jobs with Justice–of which I am a member –has joined forces with local and state officials and IU’s unions: the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), which represents service and maintenance staff, and the Communications Workers of America (CWA), which represents clerical and technical employees.

…… Daniels also signed a $1.16-billion deal with IBM to run Medicaid, food stamps, and other poverty-relief programs. In fact, he would like to privatize the entire state welfare system, which he calls “the worst” in the nation. ( Just how he knows that it is the worst is unclear, but he obviously dislikes welfare.)

The Mess With Texas / The Lone Star State fired its human services provider. Is the new replacement doing any better?

Source: By JONATHAN WALTERS, Governing Magazine, September 2007

It’s been just over a half a year since the Texas Health and Human Services Commission cancelled its $900 million, five-year contract with Accenture to run four call centers that would handle social services intake and screening over the phone. In the aftermath of the Texas contracting debacle, both the state and advocates have been working to pick up the pieces. Not surprisingly, though, state officials and advocates for children and family have a fairly divergent view of how it’s going right now.