DHW’s Living Strategic Plan: A year of progress toward Goal 4 – Strengthening the public’s trust and confidence in the Department of Health and Welfare

The Department of Health and Welfare (DHW) is in the final stages of developing our next five-year strategic plan. As we add the final touches on our vision for the future, we have also taken the opportunity to reflect on the journey behind us. As we review tasks in our final week of the current 2021 – 2025 Strategic Plan, we are proud to share our accomplishments, and also some of the lessons we have learned from the challenges we have faced and how those have shaped our next strategic plan.

Today’s post is the final post in a four-part series highlighting the department’s progress toward our mission and the goals we have committed to. In this blog post, I am highlighting some of the key achievements over the past year as part of Strategic Goal 4: Strengthen the public’s trust and confidence in the Department of Health and Welfare.

Objective 4.1: Create consistent, respectful experiences for customers throughout their journey by developing and implementing a customer experience strategy that improves the customer’s experiences in key moments. The strategy will be measured by the Customer Effort Score* and improved by 10 percent by July 1, 2024.

  • DHW staff from across divisions worked together to improve the customer experience of families applying for Katie Beckett Program. The purpose of this program is to help children with severe disabilities receive care in their home rather than in a nursing home or other institution. There is now an improved website experience to assist families in the application process, informational materials for providers to help families through the process, and improvements made to processes within DHW and the assessment processes administered by independent contractors.
  • The cross-divisional team working on the Katie Beckett Program customer experience project created and distributed a survey in June 2020 to DHW customers who participated in the level of care assessment to determine the Customer Effort Score (CES). With this survey, they established a baseline CES of 3.11. This baseline was used to show whether the changes made to the application process have been helpful for these Idaho families, with a target of improving the score by 10 percent. When the survey was conducted again in March 2021, the new CES was 3.54, a 13.8​ percent increase from 3.11. Although this increase is great news, we will continue to work to improve this experience for those we serve.

Objective 4.2: Prevent the accumulation of costly, ineffective, and outdated regulations and reduce regulatory burden by collaborating with the public to review and simplify 100 percent of the department’s rule chapters by Dec. 31, 2025.

  • Part of the independence that Idahoans enjoy and expect is freedom from excessive government regulation. Gov. Brad Little’s Zero-Based Regulation Executive Order holds every state agency responsible for reducing the regulatory burden on Idahoans. We are committed to operating with minimal regulation that would interfere with the independence of Idahoans. This work involves the review of our administrative rules, which are the Legislature-approved procedures we follow as we do our work.
  • DHW’s Rules Unit has updated internal rulemaking process documents and training materials to incorporate the new provisions of the Zero-Based Regulation Executive Order and has conducted training on the new rulemaking process to all department employees who work with administrative rules.
  • A schedule was created to plan which rule chapters will be reviewed each year from 2021 to 2025. This information is available to the public on the department’s external website.
  • As part of this review, the divisions have scheduled informal rulemaking and have completed the required analyses for rule chapters scheduled for review in 2021.

Objective 4.3: Secure and protect information entrusted to us by Idahoans, by defending our network against threats for both in-office and at-home workers, ensuring compliance requirements are met, protecting confidential data while ensuring only authorized access, and maintaining a 100 percent annual completion rate for security awareness training for employees.

  • During the pandemic, two out of three of DHW employees primarily telecommuted. This presented significant need to ensure security compliance for the mobile workforce to ensure mobile workers’ computers were at the necessary security level to safeguard Idahoans’ data. In October 2020, DHW achieved 100 percent security compliance, and ensured that all mobile workstations met the require security posture as specified in relevant compliance requirements. ​
  • The department achieved 100 percent adoption of multi-factor authentication to protect confidential data, and we are in compliance with federal standards.
  • The department has also procured, purchased, and deployed an industry standard security compliance reporting and analytics platform, which will help manage, track and report security control implementations.

Objective 4.4: Build the trust of the public and other stakeholders through communication strategies that support our mission and vision, demonstrate successes, and establish thought leadership. New strategies to be developed and implemented by July 1, 2021.

  • The DHW Office of Communications has led department-wide efforts to highlight the department’s expertise during the pandemic and in other programs and services.
  • The department supported and developed health-related communication campaigns and strategies relating to COVID-19. The department increased use and public engagement through Instagram and the DHW Voice blog to raise awareness of CDC recommendations for all audiences. The DHW blog increased average views per month in 2020 (compared to 2019) by 85 percent.
  • All divisions in the department are currently conducting an assessment of community organizations that DHW supports, funds, or sponsors, and have begun implementation of a strategy to engage them so we can support each other in our efforts to serve Idahoans.
  • The department has committed to transparency in the cross-divisional work carried out within the department through “Living Strategic Plan” communications. Each month, updates on strategic plan progress have been communicated internally through the staff newsletter, and to the public through  this blog.

Objective 4.5: Implement a resource management strategy to reduce financial risk through the adoption of enterprise-wide, integrated best practices by June 30, 2024.

  • The department completed a 5 percent general fund reduction plan for state fiscal year (SFY) 2021 that allowed DHW to manage to the reduced budget. Our approved plan, built from the division level up, maximized the department’s ability to strengthen the health, safety, and independence of Idahoans with minimum impact to those who receive our services.
  • ​DHW developed an SFY 2022 plan that would replace one-time savings in the SFY 2021 5 percent plan with permanent reduction. The plan identified potential areas of spending reduction in the unlikely event DHW would need to cut 5 percent of the SFY 2022 general fund appropriation.
  • The department completed a 100 percent review of all Division of Management Services-administrated contracts to assess value. This included a review of 37 contracts including facilities and motorpool and identified value and potential savings opportunities.

As of today, DHW has completed 73 percent, or 39 out of our original 53 tasks published in the 2021 – 2025 Strategic Plan. We have eight tasks that are in progress and on track (15 percent), one task that has some issues we are working on overcoming, and four tasks (7 percent) where we are facing substantial challenges or anticipate that we will not meet the deadline we set for ourselves.

As we transition to tasks from the new strategic plan next week, we will continue to work on these remaining tasks and ensure that the progress we have committed to continues, as we work to improve the lives of Idahoans. We are also committed to pushing ourselves to achieve even more in the coming year, as many of our completed tasks lay the foundation for healthy communities in the years to come.

You can follow the DHW’s work toward our mission and read more about our strategic plan on our website.

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