County Departments of Human Services Experiences with Noticing
COMMUNICATION BETWEEN HCPF AND MEDICAID CLIENTS
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03:37 PM -- County Departments of Human Services Experiences with Noticing
Frank Alexander, Director of the Boulder County Department of Housing and Human Services, Patrick Kelly, Project Director at the Boulder County Department of Housing and Human Services, Janeen McGee, Director of the Lake County Department of Human Services, and Michelle Trujillo, Economic Assistance Division Director, Mesa County, came to the table. Mr. Alexander began his presentation (Attachment D) and discussed the goals of counties for improving client correspondence. He described the many services that counties are responsible for administering. He stated that increase efficiency of client correspondence frees up staff time to deal with more pressing client issues. He provided several examples of clients correspondences, including one client who received 24 notices over a two-day period and the confusion that ensued. Mr. Alexander described the governance of CBMS and the improvements that have occurred since the system was implemented in 2004. He stated that counties have two seats on the executive steering committee and various program teams and that much progress has been made to improve CBMS. He described the timeliness of eligibility determinations and increasing caseloads over the last several years. Despite these improvements, Mr. Alexander stated that individual experiences may not be positive and will reflect poorly on counties if they receive confusing or inaccurate notices.
Ms. Trujillo began her portion of the presentation about the influence of counties on client correspondence. She described the various types of letters and why they may be generated. She stated that CBMS users at counties and clients using the PEAK system have the ability to control certain information entered into the system and the accuracy of data. She discussed the verification checklist process and the ability of CBMS users at counties to request specific information for follow-up. Ms. Trujillo described the ability of county officials to preview notices and suppress notices from being sent if information is incorrect. She stated that they do not always have the ability to review notices if the user is not the person generating the notice. Discussion ensued between the committee and Ms. Trujillo about the difficulty of manually reviewing client communications. She described the ability to manually print verification checklists and the convenience of giving them in-person to clients rather than mailing them.
Ms. McGee began her segment of the presentation about the impact of client correspondence at the local level, especially in rural communities. She describe how much workers care about the clients and the many personal connections that exist in small communities. She described some points of client confusion that counties must address. She highlighted the readability of notices, staff training, allocation of resources, and county administration funding as key issues. She described the challenges of recruiting human services staff and the need to find the right person and skills. She stressed the need for additional resources for counties to do their eligibility and client work. Representative Landgraf asked how the Medicaid name change will impact counties. Ms. McGee said that they will do their best to explain it to clients and stated that the most important thing is for clients to understand the overall process, regardless of the name of the program.
Mr. Kelly began his presentation about data collection on client correspondence . He discussed the need for data in order to make improvements and explained how counties set out to measure the impact of client correspondence on their workload. He described county data collection in four counties of different sizes and the issues tracked. He stated that Connect for Health Colorado and several other partner organizations also participated in the data collection efforts. Mr. Kelly described some limitation to the data collection effort and presented his findings. He stated that their preliminary results seem to match the areas of concerns addressed in HCPF's readability study. He concluded the presentation by providing the committee with county recommendations concerning client communications.