Indiana welfare chief says hybrid system succeeding

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Indiana human services chief Anne Murphy told a legislative panel Tuesday that the face-to-face contact for clients that she has added to the state's error-plagued welfare automation system is showing success, but lawmakers said many problems remain.

Murphy, secretary of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, said error rates are down and the percentage of new applications for food stamps, Medicaid and other benefits on backlog has fallen by 83 percent or more in southwestern and west-central Indiana after her agency made the changes in those two regions.

"Hybrid is what's driving down this percentage," Murphy told the Medicaid Oversight Commission.

FSSA rolled out the so-called "hybrid" system to 10 southwestern counties in January and 11 west-central counties in June. The agency added 16 more southern counties this month.

The state was forced to revamp its welfare intake system after Gov. Mitch Daniels last year fired Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM Corp. less than three years into a 10-year, $1.37 billion contract to privatize and automate the processing of welfare applications. IBM and FSSA now are suing each other in state court.

Murphy noted that federal food stamp officials sanctioned the state $1.2 million in June for too many food stamp errors last year, but in April the state's error rates were better than the national averages.

The testimony of a recently retired case worker, however, raised questions over whether FSSA can duplicate elsewhere the successes it has seen in the first two hybrid regions.

Frank Gilbert of Fort Wayne, who retired in July after 34 years as a welfare case worker with FSSA and one of its vendors, said the agency and its contractors poured more manpower into bringing down the backlogs in the hybrid areas as they were rolled out in Vanderburgh and surrounding counties, and later in the Terre Haute area.

"They had priorities. We called them the Vandeys. Vandeys got all the attention," Gilbert said in an interview after the meeting.

Democratic state Sen. Sue Errington, whose Muncie-area district is part of the region that was the first to be automated but hasn't received the extra attention from local case workers yet, said she receives on average a complaint every day about the welfare problems.

Errington read into the record a letter from Rep. Gail Riecken, D-Evansville, that said even with the added face-to-face contact, problems persist and "the system is not designed to help the neediest."

Republican Rep. Suzanne Crouch, also from Evansville, said her survey of hospitals and other Medicaid providers in that area found mixed results with the hybrid system.

Murphy said FSSA hopes it can expand the "hybrid" system to the two remaining automated regions, in north-central and northeast Indiana, by January if it gets approval from the U.S. Food and Nutrition Service, which runs the food stamp program.

She said FNS requires two months of data from a newly added hybrid region before it approves the next, which would suggest FNS won't approve an expansion to both of the next two regions before next March. FSSA spokesman Marcus Barlow said the agency hopes FNS will make an exception based on the success so far.

Murphy most likely will fall short of a goal she stated in May to add the face-to-face attention to all the regions with welfare automation by the end of this year.

The automation still hasn't been introduced to 33 other counties in central, north central and northwest Indiana with some of the largest caseloads. They include the cities of Indianapolis, Gary, South Bend, Elkhart and Lafayette.


  • general comments

    o This is a wonderful opinion. The things mentioned are unanimous and needs to be appreciated by everyone.



    used cars
  • general comments

    o This is a wonderful opinion. The things mentioned are unanimous and needs to be appreciated by everyone.



    used cars
  • general comments

    o This is a wonderful opinion. The things mentioned are unanimous and needs to be appreciated by everyone.



    used cars
  • What about ACS
    How come the entire article does not mention ACS?
  • Another GOP FAILURE
    GOP attempts to privatize government FAILS and continues to FAIL again and again. And to claim a 83 percent decline form total failure is an attempt to mask the fact that the system completely failed. How many more of these special sweetheart deals must the citizens of Indiana have to cope with? Toll Roads, parking meters, what is next???

Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
thisissue1-092914.jpg 092914

Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Here are a few candidates for this new group, "ripped from the headlines." First up, that bizzaro State Senator Brent Waltz; secondly, the unethical Todd Huston, and his contractual arrangements scheme; Finally, but not least of all, the dishonorable Eric Turner. What sayeth you Greg Zoeller?

  2. Good day. I can't hide this great testimony that take place in my life I will love everyone to know it and be partaker that is why I always place it on answer, I am Mrs,Natalie Cuttaia by name, I live in Texas, United State Of America, I want to thank (Mr.Bruce Brandon) for his kindness upon my family life. I never knew that there is still nice lender like this on internet and earth here. Just some Months Back, I was in search for a loan of $100,000,00 as I was running out of money for feeding and rent. I was scammed $6,800 Dollars and I decided not to involve my self in such business again but a Friend of my introduced me to a loan firm due to my appearance and doings. And I told him that I am not interested of any loan deal anymore but he told me that there is still a nice lender who he will recommend me to, and I made a trial and I am most grateful lucky am I today, I was given a loan amount of $100,000.00usd, by this great Company (Bruce Brandon Loan Company) managed by (Mr.Bruce Brandon) If you are in need of a genuine or legit loan or financial assistance and you can be reliable and trusted of capable of paying back at the due time of the funds I will advice you to, contact him via: ( bruce.brandon071@gmail.com ) And you will be free from scams in the internet. All thanks to Mr.Bruce Brandon You are the one who remove me and my family out of poverty. The reason why i am doing this is that, i promise Mr.Bruce Brandon that if i truly got my loan, i will advertize his company and bring customers to his company. Contact him via ( bruce.brandon071@gmail.com )for the Loan you have been looking for..

  3. Hello, We are firm Organization formed to help people in needs of helps,such as financial help. So if you are going through financial difficulty or you are in any financial mess,and you need funds to start up your own business,or you need loan to settle your debt or pay off your bills,start a nice business, or you are finding it hard to obtain capital loan from local banks,contact us today via email mrsroseberrywilkinsfunds.usa@gmail.com So do not let these opportunity pass you by because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever more. Please these is for serious minded and God fearing People. Your Name: Loan Amount: Loan Duration: Valid Cell Phone Number: Thanks for your understanding to your contact as we Await Regards Management Email:mrsroseberrywilkinsfunds.usa@gmail.com

  4. The question is, where could they build a new stadium? It seems in the past year, all the prime spots have been spoken for with potential projects. Maybe in the industrial wasteland area a block past Lucas Oil? I think it needs to be close to the core, if a new stadium is built.

  5. Aldi is generally a great shopping experience. Still, I'm sure YOU wouldn't want to shop there, which I consider a positive.