Michigan Applies Advanced Technology to Manage Critical State Human Services Programs at the Local Level

May 02, 2012
  • For first time, managers in Department of Human Services (DHS) offices across the state can make county-level decisions about caseworkers, beneficiaries, budgets; supports Governor’s call for innovative solutions
  • State’s goal is to strengthen caseworker productivity, improve health and well-being of beneficiaries, save money, identify fraud and abuse
  • New analytics tool, developed by DHS and Department of Technology, Management & Budget,, in partnership with OptumInsight, wins first-place award from National Association of State CIOs

More than 1,000 Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) county managers across the state are using advanced technology to strengthen caseworker productivity, contain costs, identify potential fraud and abuse, and improve the health and well-being of beneficiaries who rely on DHS’s food, medical, and cash assistance programs.

The state believes the new county-level data analysis and reporting tool will help achieve significant savings and improve services by enabling local managers to make critical decisions about staff, programs, and budgets based on specific local and regional needs – without awaiting action or direction from executives in Lansing. The technology supports Gov. Rick Snyder’s call for Michigan’s state government to focus on innovation and rapid decision-making to reduce costs and improve service and efficiency within state government.

The new technology was developed by DHS and the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget (DTMB), in partnership with OptumInsight, the state’s long-time business intelligence partner.

Using the tool’s analytic capabilities, easy-to-understand reports, and “dashboard views” of information, DHS county managers in 115 offices across Michigan have, for the first time, the local capability to:

  • Deploy case workers and balance caseloads quickly and efficiently, depending on beneficiary needs, caseworker expertise, location of beneficiaries, and caseload volume.
  • Examine individual county cases to determine whether beneficiaries – including many at-risk children – are being serviced effectively.
  • More easily scrutinize and understand cases in their counties in which families receive multiple benefits – cash assistance, food stamps, child day care, medical assistance – to track and monitor care, services, and money spent. These cases also require more vigilance to help address the potential for fraud.
  • View and analyze multiple cases associated with family members living in the same household to better understand the entirety of the household’s needs and provide integrated human services (food, medical services, housing, etc.).
  • Track spending and contain costs at the county level.
  • Analyze broad regional trends and coordinate needed services with other department and local community agencies.

The tool also helps social workers in the field better manage their caseloads to respond to client needs. Michigan social workers have experienced a growing number of cases brought on by staffing cuts and the economic downturn. In 2004, workers managed an average of 200 cases; today, the number has soared to an average of 600 cases per social worker. Caseworkers can now deliver more timely and effective services to beneficiaries. For example, information spanning all assistance programs is now available in one place, enabling a single caseworker to assist clients with multiple benefit programs.

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) awarded Michigan first place for the county-level solution in the “Data Information and Knowledge Management” category.

The technology is linked to the information-rich DHS/DTMB Lansing-based business intelligence and decision support data warehouse, also implemented in partnership with OptumInsight, which helps DHS manage virtually all of its programs. The county solution also works in conjunction with DHS’s nationally recognized “Bridges” program, a fully automated and integrated eligibility determination and benefit issuance process for the state’s cash assistance, medical assistance, food assistance, child care, and low-income home energy programs. Because of its link with Bridges, the county-focused tool is called the Bridges Information Management Mart, or BRIMM.

Shelby Solomon, OptumInsight president, Government Solutions, said: “OptumInsight is grateful for the opportunity to have worked with Michigan during its many years of national leadership in using advanced technologies to control costs and deliver health and human services more effectively. The county-level solution is the latest example of the State’s commitment to constantly improve the way it serves beneficiaries and taxpayers.”

About Michigan DHS
The Department of Human (DHS) is Michigan's public assistance, child and family welfare agency. DHS directs the operations of child protection, child welfare, public assistance and service programs through a network of more than 100 county Department of Human Services offices around the state.

About Michigan DTMB
The vision of the Department of Technology, Management & Budget is to transform Michigan through collaborative, transparent and results-focused services to government, citizens and business by providing leadership and setting the pace for customer service, resource optimization, and the innovative use of information and technology.

About OptumInsight

OptumInsight delivers technology, health information, consulting and outsourcing solutions. Commercial health plans, physicians, hospitals, life sciences companies, government agencies and other organizations that comprise the health care system depend on OptumInsight solutions and insights to improve their performance. OptumInsight is part of Optum, a leading information and technology-enabled health services company dedicated to making the health system work better for everyone. For more information, visit www.optuminsight.com

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