Faulty Medicaid system paid out $11 million to deceased residents in Rhode Island

Rhode Island paid about $11 million to more than 1,000 deceased residents during fiscal year 2018 as a result of faulty software within its statewide health insurance platform, the state auditor revealed Thursday. The audit also shows the state’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services is struggling to retrieve more than $60 million in double payments dispersed to nursing homes while the computer system could not process patient applications. The mispayments were a result of several deficiencies found in the system, called RIBridges, or sometimes referred to by its project name, the state’s United Health Infrastructure Project, or UHIP. The audit shows that the platform’s eligibility controls — the service that determines which residents can receive Medicaid — did not meet state standards. A comparison of the state’s benefit-eligibility records and independent death records performed by auditor Dennis Hoyle found 10,881 dead people were still considered “eligible” for Medicaid. “..

How one city trawls social media to inform policy and make decisions

An AI-powered data-gathering platform used by the city of Aurora, Illinois, has helped officials make better decisions, the city’s chief information officer said at a conference in Denver last week. But he also conceded that the platform’s reliance on social media like Twitter and Facebook leaves open the possibility that it’s using great deal of information from unverified sources. Michael Pegues, the top IT official for the Chicago suburb of about 210,000, said at the Smart Cities Connect conference that public safety leaders and other officials in his city often look to ZenCity — an analytics tool that blends official information, news sources and social media — to guide law-enforcement operations and other big policy actions. “We’re learning to be the smartest city in America,” Pegues said, aspiring for an ideal bandied about by many local governments pursuing a “smart city” agenda. Pegues said the ZenCity platform came in handy on Feb. […] Source

Three ways state and local governments can get people excited about data projects

A host of organizations must get involved with a state or local government’s open data program before it can begin generating information rich enough to inform policy or improve operations. But officials from Austin and the Texas state government told a conference audience Monday that with persistence and open communication, it’s possible to convert skeptics into open-data advocates. Texas launched its open data portal as a pilot project in 2014 without much support. But as of early 2019, it’s logged 288 million downloads of its datasets, Ed Kelly, the state’s data coordinator, said at Tyler Technologies’ Connect conference in Dallas. The state has partnered with the city of Austin and is now looking for new partnerships with more city and county governments as it continues searching for ways to ply data against government’s challenges, he said. 1. Lead by example Kelly said that lifting the state’s data program out of […] Source

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