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Secretary Wos Thanks County DSS Directors and Staff

 

For Immediate Release
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Contact: news@dhhs.nc.gov
              919-855-4840

Raleigh, N.C. - Today, Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos, M.D., thanked members of the DSS Directors Association for their patient leadership and the dedication of their staff as NC FAST implementation continues across the state. Secretary Wos spoke to a room of about 50 county social services directors as they met for their monthly meeting in Raleigh.

"I want to assure you that we are well aware of the challenges you and your staff are facing daily when people aren't getting their benefits on time," said Secretary Wos. "This is a top priority for the Department, and you and your staff members deserve thanks for such perseverance and hard work to address these challenges."

In her remarks, Wos noted that many counties have successfully identified local strategies to help with the transition to the new case management system. Those measures include hiring temporary staff and purchasing the necessary equipment to run the system.

"We understand these challenges and are committed to working with you to ensure NC FAST helps our counties provide better, more efficient services," added Wos. "We know this is a huge change for all of us, but the good news is that each day, the situation is getting better and better."

All 100 counties currently use NC FAST to process Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) eligibility applications. During the month of August, $207 million in monthly FNS benefits were issued through NC FAST to 807,000 individuals and families, in line with August of 2012. Secretary Wos also explained that based on feedback from the counties, the state is making improvements to the NCFAST system to make it easier to process benefits. In addition:

  • The state has provided additional communications and training materials and is enhancing communications with county DSS Directors.
  • The state is also responding to county feedback by adding 160+ temporary employees to the NCFAST Team to provide even more on-site support in each county (no additional state funds will be required). In addition, the state has redeployed existing resources from counties that are doing well to counties that need assistance with processing benefits timely.
  • The state is providing additional help desk support to solve issues as they arise.
  • As with any IT system, the state is quickly working through any defects found in the system.

NC FAST is an acronym for North Carolina Families Accessing Services through Technology. It is a software tool designed to improve the way the NC Department of Health and Human Services and county departments of social services do business. When completely implemented, NC FAST will have replaced 19 legacy systems used by the counties with a single uniform method to determine eligibility and provide comprehensive case management for families in need of county-administered state-supported services such as FNS, Medicaid, Low-Income Energy Assistance, Crisis Intervention and Child Care.

 

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