Restructuring Virginia

A Virginia gubernatorial panel that’s been working to streamline state government says it is targeting more than the low-hanging fruit in its latest efforts.  Last year, its legislative achievements included consolidating or getting rid of 49 boards and commissions … and creating one-stop portals for business start-ups.  And this year’s goals could result in real restructuring within agencies and programs, with many proposed reforms on the table.

Many proposed reforms are on the table.  Secretary of Health and Human Resources Bill Hazel said as a federal mandate requires states to expand Medicaid coverage, Virginia must change how it handles 1.1 million applications per year.

“We have about a 16%  error rate on Medicaid applications.  Unacceptable.  Some people get Medicaid that shouldn’t, others don’t get it who should.  But we have this error rate.”

Other plans include consolidating social services data across agencies to coordinate the flood of new requests.  The panel is still pursuing goals of 4-day work weeks for some state employees to save costs.  But Human Resource Management Director Sarah Wilson told the members that funding the unused leave of state workers is problematic:

“This is an unfunded liability for the agencies.  And if everyone in my agency that’s eligible to retire today retired, I don’t have the money to cover it,” she said.

Also under discussion is an inventory of surplus state property and buildings to gauge if they should be used or sold.

–Anne Marie Morgan

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