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

Bill would create cybersecurity grant program for state and local governments

U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Cory Gardner introduced legislation Monday that would authorize the Department of Homeland Security to give state and local governments grants to purchase additional cybersecurity resources and hire more information-security personnel. Under the State Cyber Resiliency Act, state, local and tribal governments would be invited to put together plans to improve their overall defenses around their computer networks, communications systems and industrial control systems, such as internet-connected devices that operate environmental sensors and other “smart city” platforms. Plans would be designed with the goals of improving overall security, running regular vulnerability assessments and other threat-mitigation exercises and ensuring operational continuity — particularly public safety and law enforcement — in the event of a cyberattack. “As cyberattacks increase in frequency and gravity, we must ensure that our nation — from our local governments on up — is adequate..

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

Former Iowa CIO takes job in Abilene, Texas

Former Iowa Chief Information Officer Robert von Wolffradt was hired Monday as the first CIO of Abilene, Texas, city officials said. Von Wolffradt, who left the Iowa state government in January, will begin his new role in Abilene, a Central Texas city of about 136,000, later this month. The city’s IT division will take a higher priority in technology discussions moving forward, according to Abilene City Manager Robert Hanna. “Mr. von Wolffradt will lead the City’s efforts to better leverage technology to serve our citizens as Abilene’s first Chief Information Officer,” Hanna said in a press release. “Previously, the City’s Information Technology Division did not always have a seat at the table and wasn’t always brought into high level discussions on technology. Bob will lead a team of dedicated professionals and will ensure that the City’s acquisition and implementation of technology is strategically focused and well executed.” During his six years as […] Source