Last week’s numbers are a big shout out to the great work everyone has done and is doing. Good gains everywhere and the team is a hair’s breadth from closing the books on the SNAP backlog. Even with the intense effort on the SNAP apps, the untimely workload across all programs is dwindling. We saw the biggest drop in the MAGI-Medicaid workload since is this effort started and the week of June 22, was the third week in a row with declines in stale MAGI applications. Very soon ARIES will have additional functionality that is going to help drill through the remaining work.
In the face of additional account transfers from the Marketplace, some of which are quite out-of-date, and applications that may have recently slipped out of timeframes, gains are still being made. With just over 300 SNAP applications left in the backlog and only 27 remaining from May 4th backlog (our bench mark for the SNAP sanction), clearly the 60 day SNAP target is well within reach. Also, thousands of timely and accurate eligibility decisions are being made each and every week. Thank you all for another great week. Hooray DPA!
Last week saw some serious backlog busting with the total backlog dipping below the December 1 benchmark, including very good reductions across virtually all programs! Despite the receipt and registration of delayed FFM transfers (some of which are quite stale), the MAGI Medicaid backlog still dropped by over 200 applications.
It is also exciting that the focused effort on SNAP applications is getting DPA back on that program’s timeliness track. Based on our data, DPA’s SNAP timeliness was a dismal 67.4% early last December. By the time the sanction letter was received from Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) on May 4th, just over 30 days ago, only 65.2% of applications had timely determinations. Today, DPA has an 88.3% timeliness rate, just below the federal target of 90%, demonstrating an improvement of approximately 23%. This is tremendous progress!
Today, the Commissioner and I are meeting with SNAP Western Region Administrators. Naturally, the SNAP sanction and backlog will be a point of discussion. The work that has been done and done so well over the last couple of weeks is going to make that a much easier conversation. Elaine Rich, our Chief of Program Integrity, recently noted that “an amazing amount of work is being done in the field! DPA is processing many more applications than just the original SNAP backlog.
DPA! DPA! DPA Rocks! Last week saw an almost 6% drop in the overall backlog, the best too date. Despite the ongoing work to register the outstanding FFM and SSP applications, the rate of processing backlogged MAGI-Medicaid applications kept backlog growth to a minimum. Outstanding work has been done on the SNAP backlog with very good progress across the board.
Naturally, we are also having a bit of rain on our parade. Due to federally-facilitated marketplace defects many accounts simply were not transferred to states. The FFM also didn’t transmit accounts for some applicants who requested full eligibility determinations by the state after they were determined eligible for a Qualified Health Plan (QHP). Lastly, about 53,000 duplicate accounts were transferred to states. The short story is we can expect about another 815 FFM transfers, some which may go back to August of 2014. Fortunately the defects have been isolated and the last of them will be addressed by late summer.
Just a short note and a big HURRAH this week with excellent progress made on addressing our SNAP backlog! Last week also saw drops in the backlog across all programs with the exception of Medicaid. A spike in Medicaid backlog was anticipated as more effort went into the registration of FFM accounts and SSP applications. While it resulted in a big rise in the Medicaid backlog, the great effort made across all programs kept growth in the total backlog down. Thank you all for keeping the pedal to the metal!
Another week with the backlog going in the right direction! Last week there were reductions in the backlog for virtually every program, except Medicaid. However, with the effort underway to get FFM and SSP requests registered, some jump in the MAGI Medicaid backlog is to be expected. In April over 20,000 case determinations were completed. What an effort and what a team!
The goal of clearing the backlog before the implementation of Medicaid Expansion remains a significant challenge but I believe it is an achievable goal, so I have to ask everyone to stick with it. It has been a cross-country race with much of it uphill for the last few months. We are approaching the final laps and it will take a hard push for the next couple of months to get us across the line, but you have shown the colors of champions who will not flag or fail in the effort, despite the obstacles.
This is Public Service Appreciation Week. Have no doubt; there is no employee in state government more worthy of the public’s appreciation than DPA. I talk to a clients or providers every day. Are many of them frustrated by late benefits or decisions and concerned about help for their family or patient? Certainly they are. But, the people I talk to are also typically very grateful for the help and compassion they receive from staff.
As grateful as our clients may be, no one appreciates someone in public service more than their co-worker. What a grand team we have in DPA. Catch someone doing a good thing and praise them (there are tons of opportunities to say thank you around us every day).
Another week of hard work that paid off with a bit of a drop in the overall backlog, and every bit counts. Staff made the most of protected time completing almost 5,000 actions during the prior week.
Meeting SNAP interview requirements has been challenging. To help alleviate some of that pressure, staff from Program Integrity and Work Services will soon be assisting with interviews. To support their efforts, field services developed an interview guide. A recent test of the guide was very positive with an experienced ET able to do 18 interviews in a day completing the majority of them.
It is great to see the backlog of work drop for the second time this month! It is outstanding that, in addition to the backlogged work being processed, hundreds of Alaskans are still getting timely and accurate eligibility determinations and benefit issuances that help meet their basic needs. Keep on trucking!
Getting within federal and state timeframes for all applications is essential for the thousands of Alaskans that depend on DPA for food, shelter and health care. Furthermore, the backlog presents a risk of fiscal sanctions. Given the current budget crisis; it is a risk that must be avoided.