HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 14, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, Department of Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas highlighted several of the department's 2016 accomplishments:
"At the Department of Human Services, we keep five priorities in mind: expanding access to high-quality services, serving more people in the community, improving customer service, focusing on employment, and modernizing program integrity," said Secretary Ted Dallas. "This year, we advanced these priorities and we look forward to new opportunities to continue to serve Pennsylvanians as we look towards 2017."
Take a look at some of the great work the department did this year:
Expanding Access to High-Quality Services: DHS is committed to ensuring all Pennsylvanians have access to high-quality services, and we are always looking for ways to improve access to and the quality of the services we provide. This year we:
- Enrolled nearly 685,000 Pennsylvanians in health care coverage through Governor Wolf's 2015 expansion of Medicaid.
- Enrolled an additional 18,000 kids in the CHIP program.
- Reduced Pennsylvania's uninsured rate to 6.4 percent – the lowest in the state's history. In addition, the uninsured rate for kids is even lower at 4.1 percent – also the lowest in the state's history.
- Launched an innovative Health Enterprise Zone to address the health disparities in North Philadelphia.
- Embraced trends like telemedicine by creating TiPS - a statewide network of experts that help ensure that our kids get access to high-quality behavioral health services – especially in rural areas of the state.
- Added new and innovative services like 3D mammograms to the Medicaid program to make sure that women can access these life-saving services regardless of their income.
Serving More People in the Community: DHS is creating a system that allows Pennsylvanians to receive services in the community, preserves consumer choice, and allows consumers to have an active voice in the services they receive.
- Rolled out the Centers of Excellence as the opioid epidemic reached crisis levels in Pennsylvania. These centers are groups of medical professionals that meet with people with substance use disorder and connect them with every available support to help them obtain and follow-through with life-saving treatment.
- Began implementing Community HealthChoices, our plan to coordinate health care coverage to improve the quality of the health care experience — serving more people in communities rather than in facilities. When fully implemented, this plan will improve services for over 420,000 older Pennsylvanians and individuals with disabilities.
Improving Customer Service: Customer service is at the heart of everything we do at DHS. We are processing applications and other requests faster than ever before, and we added new staff and procedures to answer calls more quickly and efficiently. This year we:
- Shortened the time it takes to process a child abuse clearance, from 26 days to 1 day and improved the abandoned/deflected call rate at the ChildLine call center from 43 percent to 2 percent.
- Launched a mobile app for Pennsylvanians who have applied for or receive assistance benefits called myCOMPASS PA, which is estimated to save an average of $3.2 million per year.
Focusing on Employment: This year, we helped more than 54,000 Pennsylvanians transition from cash assistance to employment, provided summer jobs for kids across the state, and worked with other state agencies to come up with a comprehensive and statewide plan to help individuals living with a disability integrate into the workforce.
Modernizing Program Integrity: In fiscal year 2015-2016, we recovered and avoided $648 million in costs – that's a $65 million increase from the previous year and the most in about five years. None of this would have happened without some very hard work by DHS employees, our network of providers, and the recipients of the services we provide.
MEDIA CONTACT: Rachel Kostelac, 717-425-7606
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Human Services