Friday Five: New options for improving government technology; SNAP waivers to aid NC recipients impacted by the storm

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September 21, 2018
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In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about background checks for Medicaid providers, how housing plays a role in health outcomes, extending SNAP benefits to those affected by Florence, and improving technology within government agencies.

1. Medicaid providers say background checks make it harder to get opioid treatment. Medicaid disagrees

Ohio is set to begin enforcing a rule requiring Medicaid providers to undergo background checks. According to this article from WVXU, providers who work in substance abuse recovery, many of whom may have past histories of drug abuse or criminal convictions, are concerned the background checks will cause them to lose their jobs. In turn, this could make staffing more difficult. The Ohio Department of Medicaid counters that they have a responsibility to ensure the safety of Medicaid recipients

2. Health and housing gap for seniors is far larger and more expensive than we think

Having access to affordable housing and transportation has a substantial impact on an individual’s health outcome. In this opinion piece published by The Hill, the author discusses how Medicaid can cover costs outside of the traditional healthcare setting. This could lower costs by transitioning seniors out of high-cost nursing facilities and providing home and community-based services.

3. USDA provides additional food options to SNAP participants impacted by Hurricane Florence

The USDA recently issued a press release, reposted on WebWire, announcing that SNAP recipients in North Carolina will be allowed to buy hot foods with their benefits through October. Recipients will also receive additional time to file claims for food lost due to the hurricane. The waiver was issued to reflect concerns that individuals might not be able to store or prepare foods due to storm damage.

4. GSA introducing options to help automate agency contact centers

NextGov reports that federal agencies will have access to a selection of pre-approved vendors focused on improving contact centers in the new fiscal year, which starts in October. Vendors will focus on implementing artificial intelligence, chat bots, and more in the hopes of streamlining and reducing the cost of providing assistance to citizens.

5. Federal CIO: Now is the time for tech innovation

The Federal Times reports that Suzette Kent, federal Chief Information Officer, stressed the importance of government agencies focusing on innovating and improving technology in remarks at a recent conference. Several technology improvement programs are already underway, and officials have been encouraging agencies to apply for available funding.