HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Human Services (DHS) today announced $648M in program integrity cost avoidance and recoveries – a $65M increase from FY 2014-15 and the highest level in more than five years. The department's program integrity activities are meant to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent appropriately on delivering quality, essential care while demonstrating accountability.
"We are making sure that payments go only to those who are eligible, that we can determine eligibility in the most cost-effective and efficient way for recipients, and that we're holding providers accountable through licensing and monitoring," said DHS Secretary Ted Dallas. "Today's announcement means we are ensuring the dollars that should be spent to safeguard the health and welfare of Pennsylvanians are going to those people."
Some examples of improved program integrity are:
- Improved the accuracy rate for issuing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP - or food stamps) benefits to 97.7 percent accuracy – above the national average of 96.34 percent. It is the highest level of accuracy in 20 years and resulted in a $45M savings in FY 15-16.
- Avoided $55M by ensuring the 2,362 people on the Medical Assistance recipient restriction list are not receiving services that they are not entitled to receive. This is an increase of $9.8M from 2014-15.
- Increased monitoring of out of state electronic benefit transfer usage, leading to $26.9M in avoided costs.
"While people who receive assistance are legally allowed to use their electronic benefit transfer cards out-of-state, DHS closely watches that activity," said Dallas.
Most commonly, cards are used in states that neighbor the commonwealth, where Pennsylvanians who live along the state's border may work or shop for groceries. DHS audits suspicious activity and, when determined necessary, revokes benefits. At 2.7 percent of benefits issued, out of state usage is a relatively small percentage of overall benefits. Excluding neighboring states, it represents just 0.6 percent of all benefits.
DHS continues to modernize its program integrity efforts:
- DHS is shifting to using predictive analytics and data analysis. It is a smarter way to ensure the delivery of services to Pennsylvania's most vulnerable citizens. In September 2015, DHS issued an RFI for the use of innovative data analytics and technologies to modernize its handling of program integrity functions that block improper payments.
- Creating a Third Party Liability (TPL) portal that allows TPL customers and stakeholders to initiate new cases online. The portal will be expanded over the next several months to offer additional services.
- Implementing identity proofing to validate identities of benefit applicants.
For more information, visit www.dhs.pa.gov.
MEDIA CONTACT: Kait Gillis, DHS, 717-425-7606
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare