Lead agency: North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
Programs involved: SNAP, Medicaid, CHIP, child care, and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LiHEAP)
In this rapidly growing state, now the nation’s tenth largest, the 100 county offices are each responsible for eligibility determination, enrollment, and retention for work support and public benefits programs, and this flexibility leads to variation in business practices, eligibility requirements, and the scope of services provided. As caseloads for work support programs expanded rapidly during the economic slowdown, the current system came to seem untenable. To address this challenge, North Carolina’s work in the planning year coordinated the efforts of counties and state agencies to improve service delivery across programs, reduce administrative burden, and increase client access.
North Carolina took the following steps during the planning year:
- assembled a leadership team and a stakeholder team;
- documented current policies and processes, and identified opportunities to streamline or eliminate redundant eligibility requirements;
- conducted readiness assessments, focus groups, and local stakeholder meetings to obtain input and feedback on a new business model;
- piloted new business process strategies; and
- produced a strategic, high-level action plan to provide a long-term road map for the state.
North Carolina has achieved multiple milestones in realizing their goals of Work Support Strategies. In Phase II these include:
- Established the Economic Benefits Policy Governance Board, comprised of high-level representatives of all NC-DHHS agencies involved in WSS programs. The overarching goal of this Board is to streamline policies and procedures across all programs, and develop an integrated policy manual.
- Convened three Implementation Teams, each consisting of State and County representatives, which resulted in work products to assist in streamlining access and services for our customers:
- Communications Team developed a communications roadmap for State and County messaging and the NC WSS website (www.ncwss.com), as well as presenting the foundational components and goals of WSS at various meetings across the state.
- Data Team created a data toolkit to provide county staff with the tools to identify outcomes and measures so that they can easily find data that is pertinent to decision-making; understand how to interpret those data reports in a way that can be more meaningful; and build county-capacity for managing with a data-driven practice.
- Practice Model Team established a tool, developed by counties for counties, that is intended to aid local agencies in operationalizing the vision for service delivery in North Carolina.
- Held a series of town-hall meetings, In partnership with NC FAST, to provide additional information on where we are with our WSS initiatives, have some counties share their experiences with business process redesign, establish a foundation for what is needed to reach the goals and realize the tenets of WSS, and learn about the next phase of implementation with our NC FAST integrated case management system.
- Initiated regular webinars to provide training and support on WSS activities and business process redesign opportunities.
- Instituted a state-wide team of county WSS County Champions to assist in promoting and developing business processes designed to leverage the technology advancements of NC FAST and further realize the goals of WSS.
The Executive Summary of North Carolina’s Action Plan [pdf]
Phase I: Planning Year - Evaluation Report