Innovations Awards

When Gary D. Alexander took over as secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare in January 2011, he inherited a department with a $27 billion budget and more than 16,000 employees. Alexander discovered the department was fraught with waste, fraud and abuse, and regularly requested supplemental budget appropriations, Eisenhower said. To address these issues, Pennsylvania tried an enterprise-wide solution never done before in the health and human services arena. Thus began the Enterprise Program Integrity initiative, an East regional winner of The Council of State Governments’ 2012 Innovations Awards.

As a Vietnam veteran, Linda Schwartz saw firsthand the difficulties returning service members faced when re-entering civilian life.  As the commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Veterans' Affairs, Schwartz had one goal with regard to veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: “I wanted to do better by the folks coming home today,” she said.  Thus was born the Oasis Centers in Connecticut, an East regional winner of The Council of State Governments’ 2012 Innovations Award.

Four of the eight 2011 CSG Innovations Award-winning programs address criminal justice, and one could be categorized under criminal justice or social services. Seven of the eight deploy sophisticated software and hardware to improve state agency services. One is the first state effort to formally incorporate wellness activities into a health insurance plan for state employees. All represent cutting-edge ideas to improve state government services to citizens.

The state of Washington issues more than 1 million tickets and more than 150,000 vehicle collision reports and other related forms each year.  All that work used to be completed by hand, but then Washington launched Statewide Electronic Collision & Ticket Online Records—or SECTOR—program, an electronic application for creating and routing tickets and accident reports.  The program is one of eight national winners of The Council of State Governments’ Innovations Awards.

Like many states, Colorado has made smart use of technology to deliver services more efficiently and affordably.  The Colorado Oil and Gas Commission’s eForm program is just one example. The program, one of eight national winners of The Council of State Governments’ Innovations Awards, has helped reduce the average time it takes to get a permit for drilling a well from 45 days to 30 days.

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