State lines

Coping with the cash crunch. The economic crunch that many states face 'will position government to look for ways to invest wisely in order to limit any service reductions,' Gerry Wethington, CIO of Missouri and president of the National Association of State CIOs, said this month.

Citizens already are looking more to the Web for services, Wethington said in an online chat last month at, a Web site owned by the Washington Post Co., which is also GCN's owner.

Government is going to have to find ways to be more innovative and reuse technology across layers of government'federal, state, county and municipal, Wethington said during the chat.
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Health problems. Systems problems at Kentucky's Health Services Cabinet led the agency, which administers the state's Medicaid programs, to pay thousands of dollars for services for state residents who were no longer alive, an audit found.

Officials with the cabinet's Medicaid Services Department are working to improve the state's Medicaid Management Information System to prevent the problem in the future, Kentucky officials said.

The state's Auditor of Public Accounts cross-referenced 30 million payments totaling more than $3 billion with death records maintained by the Public Health Office of Vital Statistics.

The audit staff found more than 7,000 payments last year for 'post-death services' to some 300 providers totaling more than $360,000.

The auditors said the cabinet should overhaul MMIS so that it will compare active Medicaid participants with state death certificate records monthly and check prior payment histories to identify mistaken payments during the system's six-month reconciliation process.

The cabinet said its IT staff is working on a procedure for mainframe-to-mainframe transfer of vital statistics data to prevent improper payments.

Buying power. State and local governments now can buy IT products and services through the Federal Supply Service's schedule contracts.

The General Services Administration this month issued an interim rule in the Federal Register opening FSS' IT Schedule to all 50 states, 3,139 counties, 19,365 incorporated municipalities, 14,178 school districts, 550 American Indian tribal governments and others.

The new rule lets state and local government organizations and vendors add terms and conditions to the statements of work or statements of objectives in contract orders, as long as the added terms do not conflict with any existing schedule terms and conditions.

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