TribLIVE

| Business

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Pa. bureau lauded for work to modernize, speed welfare appeals

Tracy Henry, 44, is the director of the The Bureau of Hearings and Appeals. The bureau won a Governor’s Innovator Award in 2012 for switching to an electronic transfer system that resulted in quicker appeals when people were denied welfare benefits. Submitted

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

On the Grid

From the shale fields to the cooling towers, Trib Total Media covers the energy industry in Western Pennsylvania and beyond. For the latest news and views on gas, coal, electricity and more, check out On the Grid today.

Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, 8:37 p.m.
 

HARRISBURG — Even in a digital age, the Department of Public Welfare took about eight weeks per case to get appeals filed by welfare clients to Commonwealth Court — the enormous amount of photocopying and documentation required slowed the process.

But transmitting case files electronically saved staff about 80 hours of work each week and reduced the time of getting a case to the appeals court to one week.

The Bureau of Hearing and Appeals made it happen. The bureau gets about 78,000 appeals a year from welfare clients challenging decisions.

The electronic transfer system resulted in quicker appeals when people were denied welfare benefits and “less bureaucratic and costly red tape” for taxpayers, Welfare Secretary Gary Alexander said.

Republican Gov. Tom Corbett took notice and presented the Governor's Innovator Award to the bureau — in person — at the Farm Show Complex last summer.

Accepting on behalf of the bureau was Director Tracy Henry, 44, a Philadelphian who dreamed of getting the agency's overall record storage and transmission into electronic form.

The department began working with paperless transcripts in 2011.

“We're not quite there yet,” Henry said.

In a bureaucracy as large as the Department of Public Welfare, Henry knows “we have to take baby steps.”

A nearly 10-year veteran of the agency, Henry said she's proud of receiving the award from Corbett , and she appreciates that she got a copy of the plaque to keep at home as well as one for the office.

“Speeding up the appeals processing time for benefits appeals will pay-off for clients and for taxpayers,” Alexander said.

Brad Bumsted is state Capitol reporter for the Tribune-Review. He can be reached at 717-787-1405 and bbumsted@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Business Headlines

  1. Shale gas violations down as DEP steps up inspections
  2. Macy’s prepares outlet stores
  3. ‘Rank and yank’ doesn’t meet all expectations
  4. Trib Total Media puts 9 Western Pa. newspapers up for sale
  5. Hackers have wide reach
  6. After 90 years, Goodyear forces iconic blimp into retirement
  7. Roundup: Kraft Heinz recalls more than 2M pounds of turkey bacon; 2 key Mylan shareholders won’t participate in Perrigo vote; more
  8. Regulators expect lawsuit over oil, gas rules process
  9. Rankings: CEO pay 200 times median
  10. Fund fees within investor control
  11. Clean Air Council challenges Sunoco Pipeline’s public utility status