The center focuses on health care access, immigrants' access to services, food and nutrition, the state's eligibility and enrollment system, and TANF.

Recent Eligibility/Enrollment Delivery Publications

CPPP Statement on HHSC's New Strategy for Enrollment in Public Benefits (12/21/2006)
Austin, TXâ€"Today, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission announced a new strategy for enrolling needy Texans in public benefits, including Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance (CHIP), Food Stamps, and temporary cash assistance (TANF). Over four million low-income Texans rely on these services to meet their basic needs. F. Scott McCown, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, said: “We applaud this new strategy. HHSC is moving in the right direction. Commissioner Hawkins and his team worked hard to learn from the pilot and make needed changes. We are particularly encouraged that HHSC will increase the number of permanent state staff and resume the integrated-eligibility pilot only when the necessary technology is in place. Still, the workload is growing, and the legislature needs to add more state staff.”

Outsourcing Issues and Concerns in Public Benefits Administration (11/30/2006)
Celia Hagert presented an overview of the concerns and issues raised by privatizing enrollment of public benefits before the Texas Association of Area Agencies on Aging.

Making the Case for an Adequately Funded Eligibility System (11/14/2006)
Celia Hagert presented on the need for an adequately funded state eligibility system at the Funding State Services Conference held by the national Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Updating and Outsourcing Enrollment Public Benefits: The Texas Experience (11/13/2006)
Outsourcing was supposed to save the state hundreds of millions of dollars and improve services to clients, but so far, the state has not saved a penny in administrative costs. The children, elderly, and persons with disabilities who rely on these services have suffered through a frustrating enrollment process, been caught in long backlogs, and often been wrongly denied benefits. In May 2006, the state delayed further rollout of the system indefinitely and asked state staff to take over. This report shares the Texas experience.

New Report on Texas' Troubled Outsourcing Experiment Tells Cautionary Tale for Sister States (11/13/2006)
A report released today on Texas’ experiment with outsourcing enrollment in key health and human services tells a cautionary tale about the state’s attempt to modernize the system that determines eligibility for health care, food, and cash assistance benefits. Over four million low-income Texans rely on these services to meet their basic needs.

Presentations at the United Way of Metro Tarrant County's Pre-Legislative Health and Human Services Public Policy Forum (11/13/2006)
Celia Hagert and Tiffany Roper presented on outsourcing public benefits administration and privatizing the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services at the United Way of Metro Tarrant County's public policy forum.

Want Welfare? Don't Count on Texas' New, Inadequately Staffed System for Help: Dallas Morning News (08/4/2006)
Most of us have never had to think about how families in need sign up for public help such as health care and food stamps. Right now, however, an important debate is brewing in the Capitol over the questionâ€"how should we sign people up for help?

Staffing and Training Challenges in the Integrated Enrollment and Eligibility System (IE&E) (07/26/2006)
Celia Hagert delivered testimony before the Texas House Committee on Government Reform on the challenges faced by the state's privatization of social services.

CPPP Legislative Letter on Integrated Eligibility and Enrollment (07/19/2006)
Last week two groups of House Members wrote to HHSC Executive Commissioner Albert Hawkins regarding continuation of the Texas Integrated Eligibility and Enrollment Services (IE&E) project. These letters express two competing views. In this letter to the legislature, CPPP offers a different perspective relating to inadequate staffing for the project.

HHSC Request for Proposals: Community Based Outreach and Application Assistance (07/18/2006)
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) released a Request for Proposals for Community Outreach and Assistance on June 6. CPPP wants to make sure that Texas community-based organizations are aware of this important opportunity. We believe that it is important that Texas organizations serving low-income workers and families, the elderly, and people with disabilities join forces to create robust networks capable of helping eligible Texans access the services they need--and helping keep them enrolled.

Outsourcing Hurts the Poor: Austin American-Statesman (06/26/2006)
The state's attempt to change the way Texans in need get health care, food, and temporary cash assistance has been a disaster.

Rocky Road for Children's Health Care (06/13/2006)
This past November, the state began changing the way Texans enroll in public services. From the beginning the system has been troubled, and children’s health care has been especially hard hit. The number of kids receiving health care through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program has dropped by over 108,000 since the new contractor took over.

Problems Enrolling in Public Benefits? (04/19/2006)
Texas is using a new system to sign up for or renew Food Stamps, Children’s Medicaid/CHIP, and TANF. Some people may be having problems getting benefits using the new system, or you may be helping someone who is having a problem signing up. CPPP is not a state or federal agency and we cannot sign you up for benefits, but we can tell you who to report your problem to...

Food Stamp Issues and Challenges (04/18/2006)
Celia Hagert presented invited testimony on food stamp changes at the federal level as well as food stamp access in the new integrated eligibility system.

Statement on HHSC’s Decision to Put Social Service Call Centers on Hold (04/7/2006)
The Center for Public Policy Priorities supports the difficult decision the Texas Health and Human Services Commission made Wednesday to delay for at least 30 days the next phase of a new system that uses privately run call centers to help people apply for food stamps, Medicaid, and TANF. Since the January launch of pilots in Travis and Hays counties, the new system has been marked by technical difficulties, staffing shortages, and inadequate training of private call center staff. These problems have delayed services to clients, caused thousands of children to lose their health insurance, and frustrated both clients and staff.

Integrated Eligibility/Call Center Update (02/7/2006)
On January 20, the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) launched a three-month pilot of a new system for enrolling Texans in public benefits. The pilot is in Travis and Hays Counties and will test a new online application and the use of privately-run call centers to help people apply for Food Stamps, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF cash assistance). If the pilot is successful, the system will be expanded to other areas of the state on a geographic basis beginning in April. This Policy Page provides an overview of the new system, explains how HHS clients will be affected during the rollout, and suggests ways for nonprofit and community-based organizations to make the transition to the new system as smooth as possible for their clients.

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