IBM Smarter Cities Solutions Go Live in South Carolina, Arkansas

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2013-04-13

IBM Smarter Cities Solutions Go Live in South Carolina, Arkansas

IBM announced that the states of Arkansas and South Carolina are both using IBM Smarter Cities solutions to deliver services to constituents by tapping into IBM’s big data wrangling capabilities.

Big Blue announced on April 12 that the state of South Carolina has selected IBM to help modernize its statewide Medicaid eligibility system, transforming the delivery of health and social programs to its citizens. The solution is expected to improve program efficiencies while meeting big data challenges and opportunities as South Carolina migrates from a largely paper-based approach to a more open, automated platform to manage eligibility requirements.

The South Carolina Medicaid program serves nearly one million citizens. In replacing its current eligibility system, the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) will streamline and improve access to citizens by providing 24/7 online self-service, and enhancing support for a mobile and community-based workforce. The goal is to make it easier to administer and manage eligibility for Medicaid and other social service programs, IBM said.

IBM officials also noted that states are making their health and social service program systems smarter to get vital services to those who need them. South Carolina will also integrate its Medicaid eligibility system with the federally run health insurance marketplace.

“Our updated Medicaid eligibility system will make it easier for all South Carolinians to access the state’s programs,” said John Supra, deputy director and chief information officer for SCDHHS, in a statement. “Our current manual paper-driven approach limits flexibility in our processes and impacts speed and consistency. We expect the new system to provide us a platform to improve our eligibility performance and be able to more quickly and cost-effectively respond to future changes to the Medicaid programs.”

South Carolina implemented IBM’s solution as part of an effort to leverage commercial off-the-shelf software. Moreover, the state is extending a partnership between SCDHHS and Clemson University where Clemson will host the solution. SCDHHS, Clemson and IBM are collaborating to develop a flexible environment that makes the best use of existing state investments.

“States like South Carolina are leading the way in transforming how they interact with their citizens,” said Craig Hayman, general manager of Industry Solutions at IBM, in a statement. “IBM supports South Carolina’s goal of delivering citizen-centric services, including those social programs that involve healthcare and related services where timely access to the right programs and benefits is the driving factor. In IBM, South Carolina has chosen a solution built and developed by healthcare and social services industry experts — a solution that can manage all the big data challenges and evolve as eligibility requirements change without service delivery interruptions to those citizens who need it most.”

IBM Smarter Cities Solutions Go Live in South Carolina, Arkansas

The IBM Curam solution, the major component to South Carolina’s new eligibility system, is part of IBM’s Smarter Cities portfolio. These capabilities make access to government services easier for the citizen. Several other states, including Maryland and Minnesota, also have chosen IBM for similar initiatives.

Meanwhile, IBM also announced that the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) will roll out an IBM Smarter Cities solution as part of the state’s plan to modernize how it delivers social and healthcare services to citizens.

The new system will feature big data analytics, social program management functionality and advanced security capabilities and is designed to reduce processes that exist across numerous and disparate information silos.

“This will be DHS’ first step in transforming an IT infrastructure that is composed of more than 30 discrete system silos in an aging architecture,” said Dick Wyatt, CIO of the Arkansas DHS organization, in a statement. “Having a total view of our clients in one application — using the latest technology — will provide DHS with the ability to better manage the services provided. In addition, it will give DHS the ability to react more timely and efficiently to the many changes that are occurring and will continue to occur in the human services and healthcare arena.”

Arkansas DHS is beginning an enterprise modernization initiative with a service-oriented architecture to integrate all DHS programs, and relevant programs from other departments, into one re-useable and scalable platform. The new system will support a variety of the state’s social programs, including Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Over time, the state plans to integrate social programs across multiple agencies.

The IBM-enabled system gives Arkansas citizens a single point of access in determining their benefits eligibility without having to know all the details on all the programs available to them. Moreover, citizens will only need to share information about a change of circumstances once regardless of how many benefits programs they participate in, IBM said.

“Arkansas will be enabled to more effectively and efficiently deliver social programs ensuring that citizens get access to the right services at the right time,” IBM’s Hayman said in a statement. “In IBM, the state can benefit from our deep healthcare industry expertise combined with an ability to apply that knowledge with Big Data analytics solutions that are secure and maximize existing technology investments.”

IBM’s Curam Social Program Management Platform also powers the new Arkansas system. The state is also deploying Cognos business intelligence software, Tivoli security solutions, DB2, Infosphere and Rational capabilities. All the software will run on IBM Power Systems.

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