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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Senator Kate Bolz
Nebraska State Capitol
BOLZ BILL ESTABLISHES THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES DELIVERY IMPROVEMENT AND EFFICIENCY ACT
Lincoln, NE – The Legislature’s committee on Health and Human Services will hold a public hearing on LB309 introduced by Senator Kate Bolz at 1:30pm today. The bill aims to bring greater efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability to the delivery of public benefits.
Bolz states, “Shortly after I entered the Legislature, Iheard from a service provider for elderly individuals who waited over an hour on the phoneto speak to a health and human services worker. This is a solution oriented bill to decrease paperwork and to create efficiency and improved service overall.”
The Department of Health and Human Services provides essential services to Nebraskans, such as proving eligibility for elderly individuals to receive Medicaid upon entering a nursing home. In the past, clients worked with a caseworker and the Department of Health and Human Services verified client information by receiving hard copies of documents, and kept all such information in case file. Managing services changed in 2008 when HHS modernized and created the ACCESS Nebraska system. ACCESS Nebraska significantly reduced HHS staff, created electronic client case files, and emphasized call centers rather than local offices.
LB 309 simplifies service provisions by implementing the least burdensome means of verification allowed by federal law and by better using existing databases and technologies. The legislation will direct the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to coordinate and streamline eligibility paperwork, expand information sharing across programs and governmental agencies, and provide reasonable efforts to prevent people from cycling on and off the system.
LB 309 is intended to address many of these problems by simplifying the service delivery process, making things easier for clients and state workers – saving time and improving service delivery. “Simplification is important for call center workers who are managing large call volumes. We can simplify while continuing our tradition of accurate program administration” explains Bolz.
Senator Kate Bolz represents the 29th District of the Nebraska Legislature. She serves on the Appropriations Committee and the Developmental Disabilities Special Investigative Committee. She was elected in 2012.