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.
Let’s do the numbers! As official master of the obvious, I’d like to point out, for the first time since December 2014, the total number of applications out of timeframes has dropped when compared to the prior week.
Way to go team! The Commissioner’s immediate response to news was to voice her gratitude for the incredible people doing the work that made the difference. So, on behalf of Val, Quyana caknek! Thank you very much!
Pushing through this large workload must seem like a Sisyphean endeavor. However, unlike Sisyphus, doomed to eternity in Hades, when we find ourselves going through H-E-double hockey sticks, we don’t stop. We keep moving forward!
We can’t stop, because the work done by DPA is so meaningful for so many. It has purpose that motivates us to do the right thing. Every action taken and every conversation imbued with compassion and delivered with respect makes a difference to those we help whether they are clients or co-workers. I believe this sense of purpose is one of the things that inspire us to do the work. It is certainly one stimulus for the more than 300 DPA staff and helpers from other divisions who volunteered for over 100,000 hours of overtime between January and March.
Thank you all for your diligence and perseverance addressing our current workload challenge. Every day the collective effort of field staff, folks from other DPA sections, and our volunteers from other divisions is making a difference.
This month we have seen a drop in the number of out of time frame applications for every program except Medicaid. Medicaid numbers continue to rise as we get caught up registering Medicaid applications received predominately from account transfers and the self-service portal. Of the almost 4,500 unregistered Medicaid applications in the queue in February, fewer than 2,000 remain to be processed. A concerted effort to complete these registrations will be initiated shortly and will likely result in additional bumps in the number of aged Medicaid applications.
Last week we saw a jump in the backlog over the preceding week and yet another bump this week. Do not despair or be disheartened! The work that ensures individuals and families get the services and support they need is still getting done. Last month, field staff completed almost 24,000 case actions (not including actions related to reports of change or pending a case for more information). The tremendous effort of field staff and our volunteers from other sections and divisions is making a difference that is not reflected in the perturbations of the backlog.
Well, it looks like the curve we were turning last week turned out to be a switchback. The jump in our backlog this week is related to the batch of stale account transfers that were recently registered. Some of the transfers were reports of change and others were referrals for service. It is always difficult to absorb a large batch of work like the recent one, especially when some of the work might already be out of time frames. Fortunately, everyone’s efforts over the preceding week kept the backlog from growing even more.