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Posted Thursday, February 25, 2021 by Rupam Chokshi

When Eligibility Waivers Expire: 5 Steps to Prep Your Agency

When the public health emergency ends and Medicaid, SNAP, and TANF waivers expire, will your human services agency be ready?

In a letter to states, The Secretary of Health and Human Services indicated the current public health emergency will likely remain in place for the entirety of 2021. The department will provide states with 60 days’ notice prior to termination. That might feel like an eternity right now, but consider everything that has changed since the beginning of the public health emergency:

  • Continuous eligibility has created a backlog of renewals
  • Expanded benefits have increased applications and caseloads
  • Agencies plan to continue supporting hybrid or fully remote work

Whether the waivers expire in 60 days or not until the end of 2021, now is the time to get prepared to avoid a crisis, rather than invite one.

From what we’re hearing from our customers, there are five main areas your agency needs to focus on to prepare:

While Northwoods can’t directly help you with everything, we can help your agency modernize technology and alleviate some stress and future mishaps in a few key areas (specifically remote work, document management, and client engagement).

We found resources and developed guidance to help in all five areas. Check them out.

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Preparing the Lobby

As clients begin returning to your physical agency, certain aspects of your lobby will need updated:

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Preparing the Office

To create a safe and healthy workplace when employees return to the office, you may need to modify seating, intensify cleaning, or stagger start times.

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Adhering to Program Changes

Local agencies will need to prepare for certain programmatic changes from the federal government once the public health emergency expires. Here are government-provided communications:

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture announced an increase in Pandemic-EBT benefit by 15% and Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. 
  • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services guidance to vendors and states:
    • Letter to states to provide guidance on planning for the eventual return to regular operations, including ending temporary authorities
    • Letter to vendors to provide information to vendors working with State Medicaid, CHIP, and BHP Agencies as they address the necessary IT systems efforts related to the conclusion of the public health emergency and the period of transition to regular operations that will follow.

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Enabling Remote Work

When talking to our customers, most plan to enable hybrid or fully remote offices in the long-term even once the public health emergency has ended. To do this, agency leaders need technology that supports client self-service and digital communication alternatives to in-person visits. This is where our cloud-based client engagement software for economic assistance can help. Here’s how:

  • Provide secure and reliable cloud-based access to case information and documents from anywhere, reducing storage and paper costs
  • Allow caseworkers to shift between home and office work environments without losing productivity
  • Allow supervisors to manage remote and distributed work
  • Provide real-time and historical reporting on factors that give insight into worker productivity and quality

Reach out if you’d like to learn more.

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Streamlining Processes and Client Engagement

Chances are your caseworkers are keeping pace with the current workload because you don’t have to process renewals right now. In addition, your agency can accept verifications over the phone instead of the usual verification documents.

But, when renewals return to regular operations, your agency is likely to see an uptick in mail, online document submissions, and face-to-face document drop-offs. Are your document management systems and processes going to hold up?

The key is to modernize your technology to streamline the application, renewal, and change processes so caseworkers aren’t overloaded and can focus on tasks that require a human’s attention. A modern document management solution will:

  • Digitize and centralize case files by pulling in documents and data from multiple sources
  • Simplify how caseworkers view and share documents and case information internally and externally
  • Enable clients to communicate, submit documents, and fill out forms on their own time from wherever they are comfortable
  • Automate repetitive, redundant work such as Medicaid renewals

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Northwoods’ solutions built for economic assistance help digitize case files and automate routine business processes so your caseworkers can focus on high-value work. Reach out if you’d like to learn more.

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Rupam Chokshi, Director of Product Marketing Rupam Chokshi believes that technology should always be rooted in solving problems. It is through this lens that Rupam approaches his role as director of market research, where he oversees market analysis and segmentation, product positioning and strategy, messaging and persona development, and competitive intelligence. Rupam takes pride in helping build solutions that solve HHS workers’ most critical problems and empower them to focus on the most important aspect of their jobs—their clients.

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