DHS Top Priorities
- Expanding Access to High-Quality Services
- Serve More People in the Community
- Focus on Employment
- Improve Customer Service
- Modernizing Program Integrity
Expanding Access to High-Quality Services
The Department of Human Services (DHS) is committed to making sure all Pennsylvanians have access to high-quality services. What that means for you is:
- You have physical and behavioral health care that fits your needs. Since Governor Wolf expanded Medicaid, more than 700,000 Pennsylvanians have access to health care coverage through HealthChoices.
- A focus on the quality of health care providers. We are working hard to make sure the people providing care for your medical needs are focused on the outcomes of your health, not how quick they can turn the services around.
- Ensuring working parents have access to safe and reliable child care. DHS places a high priority on improving the quality of early care and education programs for children so they enter kindergarten ready to succeed. After participating in high-quality Keystone STAR 3 and 4 programs, the percentage of 4-year-olds with proficient language, math, and social skills doubled to 78 percent in 2013-14.
Serve More People in the Community
DHS is creating a system that allows Pennsylvanians to receive services in the community, preserves consumer choice, and allows consumers to have an active voice in the services they receive. We believe that community living can meet the needs of most of our citizens. As we work to make this a reality, our goal of better serving more people in the community means:
- Increasing continuity of care for your long-term services and supports through the Community HealthChoices program. The majority of Pennsylvanians prefer to live in their communities and homes as they age, and DHS is working to make that happen.
- Improving our waiver enrollment process. DHS is working to decrease the amount of time it takes for providers and consumers to access the needed services.
- Creating certified community behavioral health clinics where we will serve adults with serious mental illness, children with serious emotional disturbance, and individuals with substance use disorders. The clinics will allow us to further bridge the gap between physical and behavioral health and enable us to treat all health issues equally and comprehensively. This approach builds trust with those we serve and the result will be better outcomes and better health.
- Refining the home modification process to enable more Pennsylvanians to live independently in their homes.
- Clarifying policy surrounding direct care workers (DCWs). We believe that the work performed by DCWs, including personal attendants and other household aids, enables individuals with disabilities to live a more independent life.
Information Referral Tool
Need help identifying long-term services and supports based on your individual needs? Take this questionnaire. It will point you toward services in your area.
Focus on Employment
DHS is increasing employment opportunities for the people we serve. We have an "Employment First" focus which means we are:
- Improving the way our departments work together. DHS is working with other state agencies to make sure serving the employment needs of Pennsylvanians as best as we can.
- Providing career training to youths as they return to the community from the juvenile justice system.
- Applying performance-based contracts which will lead to more jobs for people who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
- The start of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) will make employment and training opportunities possible for the people DHS serves.
On March 10, 2016, Governor Tom Wolf signed Executive Order 2016-03, "Establishing 'Employment First' Policy and Increasing Competitive-Integrated Employment for Pennsylvanians with a Disability."
Improve Customer Service
Customer service is a part of everything we do at the Department of Human Services. We are always working hard to improve the ways we make our most important services available to millions of Pennsylvanians and the people that care for them. To do this, DHS is taking these steps:
- Updating services at county assistance offices (CAOs) to enhance the way customers receive their services.
- Moving towards a centralized phone system. DHS Connect is our goal to reduce the number of phone numbers Pennsylvanians have to dial to reach us. We're also improving our call centers to better serve Pennsylvanians.
- Going mobile. DHS knows that most of our customers use mobile devices on a daily basis, so we created a mobile app for child support payments (leading to recoveries of more than $1 million a month), COMPASS is now mobile-friendly, and we're exploring more effective options to provide benefits to the people we serve.
- Improving processing times. Since January, we have made improvements to processing times for things such as child abuse history clearances and provider enrollments. That is just the beginning!
Modernizing Program Integrity
DHS is improving the way we do business. We're making sure that payments only go to those who are eligible, can determine eligibility in the most cost-effective and efficient way for recipients, and holding providers accountable through licensing and monitoring. In order to do this, DHS is:
- Shifting to using predictive analytics and data analysis. It is a smarter way to ensure the delivery of services to Pennsylvania's most vulnerable citizens. In September 2015, we issued an RFI for the use of innovative data analytics and technologies to modernize its handling of program integrity functions that block improper payments.
- Creating a Third Party Liability portal that allows individuals to access services online.
- Implementing identity proofing to validate the identities of benefit applicants.
- Integrating the Office of Child Development and Early Learning licensing and monitoring system.
Helping Those Who Need It While Demonstrating Accountability (PDF)
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Monitoring Usage of Benefits (PDF)