The best part of my work month is announcing the praiseworthy achievements of division staff. Once again you’ve lifted our Food Stamp Program payment accuracy rate a notch higher. We set our Give Me Five work quality improvement campaign goal at 95%, and our accuracy rate for the first seven months of this sample year is now 96.5%. This ranks us highly among the states, and also places us in great position to compete for a “most improved accuracy” performance bonus award if we can sustain our progress for a few more months. Arguably, it is harder to win this type of bonus when we finished the prior year with a pretty low error rate. Amazingly, your good work still has us right in the hunt. And here’s another good reason for us to finish strong. Most of the states vying for the accuracy bonuses at this point are relatively small, which can means a bigger bonus share for the winners. (So let’s stay ahead of those overly-tanned ETs in Florida.)
2007 Food Stamp Accuracy Improvement Campaign
From: Jim Dalman, Chief, Program Integrity and Analysis
You may have noticed on the DPAWeb page header that our fourth month average Food Stamp Program payment error rate has dropped to 2.3%. This average is a good indicator of the current accuracy trend and a promising sign of where our accuracy rate is headed. Now this part is good. For the first time since our payment accuracy improvement campaign began in 2003 every region is above our accuracy goal. It’s the first time in over 10 years that half way through the sample year all of our regions have better than 95% accuracy. Give me Five! This truly is remarkable progress that is quickly moving us up in the national performance rankings. Keeping up this pace of improvement could put is in competition for a significant performance bonus. We can do that.
We are pleased to announce that the “new and improved” online Food Stamp Manual is now available on the DPAweb at http://dpaweb.hss.state.ak.us/manuals/fs/fsp.htm
Like the previous HTML version of the Food Stamp Manual, this new online manual is interactive and user-friendly. A search function, cross-referencing, and hyperlinks will help you find what you are looking for. Special features allow you to print and email manual sections and add them to your Favorites. Enhancements made to the manual include an updated index and glossary sections. Transmittals now replace the manual change cover memos. Although they have a new look and numbering format, the transmittals will continue to provide a brief summary of the changes and clarifications we include in each update.
On Wednesday afternoon, Governor Palin announced that assistance to seniors will be continued at least through the month of July.
We will continue to provide the $120 cash payment and prescription drug benefits to seniors who qualified for the Senior Care Program for the month of July through the General Relief Assistance program.
All SeniorCare recipients are being transitioned from the Senior Care Program into the General Relief Assistance (GRA) program, and these benefits will be paid under GRA as a senior assistance benefit. We can no longer make reference to this help as SeniorCare as that program sunsets June 30, 2007.
On April 1, 2007, the Medicaid program began providing dental coverage for adults up to a total limit of $1,150 per year for dental care, such as exams and cleanings. This new coverage also includes fillings, crowns, root canals and dentures.
Medicaid still covers adult dental services for emergency pain relief and acute infection. These emergency dental services do not count against the annual limit.
GIVE ME FIVE! 2007 Food Stamp Accuracy Campaign
We’ve set campaign sights on attaining 95% Food Stamp Program payment accuracy for 2007. Nearly three months of the Quality Assessment sample are complete, and we are off to a good start. Our accuracy rate now stands at 93.8%. On a hopeful note, we often get off to a slow start, yet this year is a bit better than we’ve been at this point in the past few years. A couple of client-caused errors pushed the rate up, so I’m confident that our improving agency-caused error rate is a good sign that will carry us to our accuracy goal.
Health and Social Services Commissioner Karleen Jackson recently announced the appointment of Ellie Fitzjarrald as Public Assistance director.
Ellie Fitzjarrald has served as acting Public Assistance director since June 2006.
“Public Assistance touches many lives on a very personal level, and it requires a unique kind of leadership,” Jackson said. “I am pleased to have Ellie continue in this leadership role ─ she has a great understanding of the importance of public assistance in helping people achieve the highest possible degree of self sufficiency while in the most vulnerable of circumstances.”
We are happy to announce that the four new and improved online program manuals are now available on the internal DPA website (DPAweb):
- Alaska Temporary Assistance
- Family Medicaid
- Adult Public Assistance
- Aged, Disabled, and Long Term Care Medicaid
These new online manuals are interactive and user-friendly. We hope you find the new features and improvements helpful. Enhancements made to the manuals include index and glossary sections, a search function, cross-referencing and hyperlinks to help you find what you are looking for. Special features allow you to print manual sections, and add them to favorites. There is an email function but it is not working properly at this time. It should be available soon.
For the past year, we have been revising our Application for Services (Gen50B) form using the expertise of the Kleimann Communications Group.
Although still in draft form, Kleimann entered it into the MarCom Creative Awards competition in October… and WE WON! Our draft Application for Services won the MarCom Platinum Award in the Writing/Technical category. Only 15% of entries received this most prestigious Platinum Award this year.
October 1st begins a new year for Food Stamp Program accuracy measurement. Our hard work and increased payment accuracy focus has led to much improved work quality in the past several years, yet we've remain short of our goal to do better than the national average. We set our goal last year for a 94 percent accuracy rate. We are still striving for that goal, in the current year and our national payment accuracy ranking among the states is 36th. We aim in the FFY 2007 quality control sample to achieve 95 percent accuracy. Give Me Five! is our new campaign theme. A 5 percent food stamp payment error rate (Give Me Five - get it?) would earn us a respectable place in the top 20 in the national rankings.