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Careful Privateers? FSSA Embarks On Outsourcing Mission, Advocates Wary

Fssa_35Mitch Deux and his band of Family and Social Service Administration helpers are confident that Indiana's transition to privatize some state social services won't go horribly wrong. But just in case, the feds will be paying extra special attention.

Ken Kusmer of the Associated Press reports:

"The state has assured federal food stamp officials that it has a contingency plan if its outsourcing of about 1,500 welfare case workers to a team of private vendors next month does not go as planned, but advocates remain wary.

"Zach Main, a top official in the Family and Social Services Administration, sent the U.S. Agriculture Department 125 pages of documents Tuesday trying to answer the agency's questions about the privatization before a key step occurs March 19. That's when about 1,500 FSSA case workers are due to leave their state jobs and join the team of vendors led by IBM Corp.

"Under a 10-year, $1.16 billion contract that Gov. Mitch Daniels signed with IBM, Indiana is attempting a sweeping outsourcing of the application process for food stamps, Medicaid and other welfare benefits that it has captured the attention of policymakers in Washington and advocates for clients nationwide. A similar plan in Texas went awry last year. That state cut the contract by nearly half and tried to hire back former state workers.

"'Testing is something that we take seriously,' Main, director of FSSA's Division of Family Resources, said in an interview with The Associated Press. 'We're going to know during the pilot whether this works or not.'"


To me a pilot program means to take things in small steps. All of the FSSA employees not retainded by the state will be privatized on March 19 is this a pilot program.

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