- Stop further CHIP disenrollments until Accenture meets basic performance levels.
- Request that the 2007 Legislature reinstate 12-month eligibility for CHIP/Medicaid enrollment. The current six-month rule churns out more paperwork for the state and dissuades some eligible families from re-upping.
- Suspend roll-out of the "integrated eligibility system" - which would expand the same privatized screening already in place for CHIP to other programs, including Medicaid and food stamps.
In short, no one else should be exposed to this privatization scheme until it works. Too many young Texans, and too many individuals' tax dollars, have already been dispatched into the void.
Given the complexities of these programs, we need trained, experienced staff helping people in need. Therefore, it makes little sense to bring in an outside company that has employees unfamiliar with these programs.
Face-to-face interaction is still more efficient than talking to a call center. Many people may have language or communication barriers and will have difficulty trying to find their way through the maze of the automated menu. Moreover, for our seniors, a staffed office will undoubtedly be more effective than waiting on hold for a call center employee.
I am not opposed to instituting new methods of delivering better service to constituents and investigating ways to save money. But "upgrading" should not come at the expense of children losing their health care coverage or a family having food taken off their table.
Persistent reports indicate the call center staff was poorly trained and employees' performance during calls and processing applications was substandard, which resulted in numerous people in real need being purged from the rolls.
The Center for Public Policy Priorities published a report on Accenture's efficiency, and a weekly status report showed that as of March 26, 39 percent of calls were abandoned and callers were on hold for an average of 22 minutes. This is never acceptable.
At a time when federal dollars for these programs are becoming scarcer, we need to make sure that efficacy is the paramount consideration.
Any restructuring should put the interests of the neediest in our community before other considerations.