The Southern Institute on Children and Families began using Business Process Analysis and Improvement tactics in 2004 as a strategic approach to provide states and counties with the knowledge and tools to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and accuracy of public program eligibility processes with an initial focus on Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Executive leaders and front line workers are taught process improvement principles and are guided through the application of these principles to generate improvements in program processes.
Leading the Supporting Families After Welfare Reform national initiative for The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), which began in 2000, was the catalyst for focusing on business process analysis and improvement. Supporting Families grantees received technical assistance to identify key improvement measures or to implement improvement plans for their eligibility systems. In 2002 RWJF and the Southern Institute assessed the technical assistance model that was being used to aid the grantees in achieving their project goals. It was decided to pursue an alternate form of technical assistance to achieve results more rapidly. Supporting Families project staff attended the Breakthrough Series College sponsored by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and adapted the teachings of the Breakthrough Series Collaborative to meet the needs of Supporting Families grantee eligibility offices. In the fall of 2002, the Southern Institute launched the Supporting Families After Welfare Reform Breakthrough Series Collaborative with 11 teams from 10 states. The successes and challenges of these teams are highlighted in The Supporting Families Story: A Movement Toward Quality Improvement.
Focusing on the improvement principles of W. Edward Deming, who stated that “There is no substitute for knowledge,” staff continues to pursue knowledge in quality improvement and understanding eligibility systems. This increased knowledge led to the development of the Process Improvement Center, now Business Process Analysis and Improvement, as a method to provide technical assistance to Medicaid and CHIP eligibility offices through the use of collaborative learning or through onsite consulting services in process improvement. SICF recognized that the use of private sector improvement methods lead to breakthrough improvements in Medicaid and CHIP eligibility processes that reduce the number of uninsured. In addition, process improvement tools and skills are transferable and have been applied to other public programs and services beyond Medicaid and CHIP. SICF staff continues to pursue further study and are certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and Green Belt practitioners.