HARRISBURG, Pa., July 25, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Public Welfare has earned a national award for its extensive efforts to preserve core programs by eliminating waste, fraud and abuse.
"Our program integrity efforts are about protecting the core programs that help the truly needy," Secretary Gary D. Alexander said. "We have developed and enhanced innovative checks and balances designed to better prevent and detect waste in the department's programs and ultimately preserving millions of tax dollars."
The Council of State Governments presented the Department of Public Welfare with the 2012 Innovation Award for its Enterprise Program Integrity Initiative. The department's Program Integrity office was created to prevent wasteful, fraudulent, and abusive practices by welfare clients and providers.
The Enterprise Program Integrity initiative resulted in the following:
- Improved methodologies and processes to identify overpayments in various benefit programs;
- New efforts to review eligibility for clients seeking a vehicle allowance;
- Enhanced efforts to cross reference provider incomes impacted by welfare benefits;
- Improved capabilities to locate and analyze cases considered high-risk for fraud;
- Cross-checking federal and state benefits paid to clients;
- Enhanced auditing of providers;
- New scrutiny of out-of-state electronic benefit cards use;
- Enhanced use of data exchanges to verify eligibility and identify overpayments;
- Improved how welfare fraud and abuse tips are handled.
In its presentation to the Council of State Governments, the Program Integrity Office emphasized DPW's cost-effective, broad-reaching, cross-program, and transferable approach to assuring the integrity of its programs and reducing fraud, waste and abuse while protecting tax dollars for providing services to truly eligible and needy Pennsylvanians.
"Taxpayers can be assured that we have more measures in place than ever before to make sure those who are receiving benefits are truly eligible and those providing services are truly qualified," Alexander said. "From day one, our administration has made eradicating fraud, waste and abuse our number one priority, and this award is testament that our efforts are working."
The Council of State Governments began presenting Innovations Awards in 1986 to create greater visibility for exemplary state programs with the goal of sharing such programs with other states. The DPW Enterprise Program Integrity Initiative was selected as one of two East Region winners out of 65 national entries from four regions.
For more information, visit the Department of Public Welfare's website at www.dpw.state.pa.us.
Pennsylvanians who suspect welfare fraud should call 1-800- 932-0582.
Media contact: Carey Miller or Donna Kirker Morgan, 717-425-7606
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare