Maine DHHS Opens the Data Black Box
Yesterday, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services announced that they are opening the black box and making data available and accessible to the public through a new dashboard. Finally!
Even the Portland Press Herald reporter John Richardson has written about how DHHS refuses to supply basic program or spending information.
This DHHS Dashboard is a good first step, but true transparency and accountability requires DHHS to go much farther, similar to our FixWelfare.com and MaineOpenGov.org sites. Most of the DHHS Dashboard data only goes back to 2006 and there is little on actual program outcomes – are people getting healthier, safer and/or moving from welfare to work?
As we noted in our Fix the System welfare report, DHHS seems so focused on tracking process and money spent and much interested in the results of all that spending.
It would be similar to my telling you how much I spent in Weight Watcher fees and how many weeks I had been enrolled in the program. That’s great; but isn’t the real test of success how much weight I lost and whether I kept it off?
Let’s hope the next governor gets this distinction. We all want good government. Good government is government that is achieving (and reporting) its goals.
And don’t worry Brenda Harvey, unlike you, I don’t think that your release of this data a week before Election Day is “politically motivated.”
Posted on Oct 27, 2010
Just got two envelopes from US Cellular: 1. A monthly bill for $85...typical 2. A flyer telling me I may qualify for a "SIGNIFICANT REDUCED WIRELESS RATE" of just $26.49 per month. Great, where do I sign??? The catch? Yes there is one...to be eligible for this great rate you must participate in one of the following programs: 1. Medicaid 2. Food Stamps 3. LIHEAP 4. Section 8 5. SSI 6. TANF Sorry...I only have a few hundred dollars in my account as I've just paid my mortgage and electric bills... Don't qualify for any of the goodies doled out by the state or feds. My payment to US Cellular is going to be late because I need to feed my family for the next two weeks. And now, I get this...I know I'm a sucker for living in Maine, but did not realize that I'm also paying for the freeloaders on US Cellular. Am I mad? Damm right! Another state employee voting for LePage.
Posted on Oct 27, 2010
Mainah, I got the same flyer. I could hardly believe it. Check it out for yourself: www.uscellular.com/lifeline
another state worker for lepage
Posted on Oct 28, 2010
I received the same flyer.. time for change accross the board
Posted on Oct 30, 2010
Yes...and the State has also sent flyers to all benefit househoulds offering a free phone with 120 minutes per month. They are Trac phones and a whole new "market" has evolved in the "street" for these phones, and minutes....since they are transferrable. This is a new twist to the Lifeline program offered with LIHEAP etc. The idea is great as no needing family should be unable to make an EMERGENCY call , but there is little or no acountability after these phones are sent out, and in some cases they are sold for cash.