Magazine article Policy & Practice

Pennsylvania System Tracks Quality of Life for Citizens with Disabilities

Magazine article Policy & Practice

Pennsylvania System Tracks Quality of Life for Citizens with Disabilities

Article excerpt

A web-based client information management system run by Pennsylvania's Office of Mental Retardation is doing a lot more than just speeding claims processing and tracking services. It's improving the quality of life for Pennsylvanians with mental retardation.

Take, for example, the reporting of incidents that occur in group homes or treatment centers. The Office of Mental Retardation in Pennsylvania's Department of Public Welfare requires 900 provider agencies in the state to report unusual incidents, such as a case of abuse, an illness or a medication error, involving any of the 70,000 people enrolled in one of 48 county mental retardation programs.

Five years ago, this was an entirely paper process. People in the regional offices would spend hours reading the written reports. Sometimes it would take a month for the regional managers to respond to the county. And each of the 48 counties had its own system.

Starting in 2000, Pennsylvania began to design the Home and Community Services Information System (HCSIS), a web-based system that provides agencies within the state's Department of Public Welfare with electronic access to critical health and social-services program data. …

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