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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 8, 2009

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Kathie Osterman, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-9313

DHHS Announces Further Details of “ACCESSNebraska” Implementation

Lincoln – Today, officials of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) issued additional details on the “ACCESSNebraska” initiative. While the first of four call centers will not become operational until fall 2010, the agency today announced its projection of offices that will eventually be impacted by the consolidation into customer service centers.

ACCESSNebraska modernizes service delivery through the increased use of technology, changes in policy and other work efficiency improvements. ACCESSNebraska’s Customer Service Centers will be located in Scottsbluff, Lexington, Lincoln and Fremont by 2012.

By 2012, once all centers are operating, nearly 400 DHHS economic assistance staff will move to the centers and approximately 250 DHHS economic assistance staff will continue to be located in local offices.

The customer service centers are the third phase of ACCESSNebraska. The first two phases were the ability to apply for services online and document imaging (electronic scanning, storing and retrieving of documents).

“The public is already responding positively to being served in new ways through our existing options of online applications and telephone interviews,” said Todd Reckling, director of the Division of Children and Family Services in DHHS. “The customer service centers build on those efforts to be more accessible and to use technology to be more efficient.”

Reckling said there’s less demand from people wanting to come to an office in person. In October, about 22% of the applications for services came in on-line, with 33% of those arriving after traditional work hours. In addition, almost 90% of the client interviews are taking place by phone.

“We’re transitioning gradually to a new way of doing work, where customer service center staff will determine eligibility for economic assistance programs,” said Reckling. “That will result in economic assistance staff being in some local offices only one or two days a week or month, rather than the current five days a week.” Satellite offices could also have computers available so people can apply on-line for economic assistance services in offices that have DHHS staff from other divisions.

The public won’t be limited to applying on-line through ACCESSNebraska or over the phone. A face-to-face interview will be available if someone asks for it.

The agency anticipates additional changes as planning continues.

Over the next two years, the following office locations will become satellite sites for economic assistance services:

DHHS Service Areas

Satellite office locations

Western Alliance *
Bridgeport
Imperial
Kimball
Rushville
Ogallala *
Central Clay Center
Holdrege *
Ord *
Northern Albion
Blair
Neligh
Pender
Pierce
Tekamah
Valentine
Wayne *
West Point *
Southeast Tecumseh
Geneva
Crete *
Plattsmouth *

* These satellite offices will be staffed only part-time by economic assistance staff, but full-time by other DHHS staff.

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