Maine launches an automated Web-based benefits program
Maine's Department of Human Services (DHS) has officially launched its Web-based
Automated Client Eligibility System.
ACES enables specialists from about 45 human services programs to quickly
determine a person's eligibility for state benefits from a single entry
of the applicant's information.
The system will prove invaluable in being able to use scarce employee
resources more efficiently, according to Newell Augur, DHS' director of
legislative and public affairs.
"In the past we've had to go through a separate qualifications process
for each of the programs," he said. "Now we'll be able to know within seconds
of entering a person's information what programs and benefits they are qualified
The new system is expected to reduce the number of paper forms used
in the application process by up to 75 percent, to reduce program and processing
errors by 30 percent, and to reduce intake and validation time by 20 percent.
ACES also fits more closely with Maine's philosophy in dealing with
benefits programs, he said, which is to appoint a single case manager for
each applicant across all of the state's programs.
It uses industry standard protocols such Extensible Markup Language,
benefits system. Case managers access the system through a single portal.
The system took just 26 months to develop and launch statewide, said
Tom Mechachonis, managing director of Keane Inc., which implemented the
The company already provides some services to federal, state and local
governments, but this is its first development of such an extensive benefits
Company officials say Maine's system can be used as a template for similar
programs elsewhere in the country.
"Most states do understand they need to go to a Web-based system" for
these kinds of things, said Ed Gott, Keane's account executive for the Maine
Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be
reached at email@example.com.
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