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Congressman Geoff Davis (R-KY), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Human Resources of the Committee on Ways and Means, today announced that the Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the use of technology to better target benefits and eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse. The hearing will take place on Thursday, April 19, 2012, in 1100 Longworth House Office Building, beginning at 10:00 A.M.
In view of the limited time available to hear witnesses, oral testimony at this hearing will be from invited witnesses only. Witnesses will include representatives from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as well as other public and private sector experts on the current status of and the potential for technology to improve the administration of public benefits. However, any individual or organization not scheduled for an oral appearance may submit a written statement for consideration by the Committee and for inclusion in the printed record of the hearing.
During the 112th Congress, the President has signed into law bipartisan, no-cost legislation drafted by the Human Resources Subcommittee to standardize data used in child welfare, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), and unemployment insurance programs. Efforts to standardize program data are designed to improve the efficiency of these programs, allow them to better communicate with one another, and improve program integrity by ensuring that program benefits are paid only to eligible individuals. The use of consistent identification codes and formatting methods will allow for more timely flow of data that could then be easily searched and analyzed to better target benefits and identify waste, fraud, and abuse. These provisions were enacted in the 2011 Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act (P.L. 112-34) and the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-96).
The Subcommittee’s efforts to standardize data are reflected on a broader scale by the bipartisan H.R. 3339, The Standard Data and Technology Advancement Act, or the “Standard DATA Act,” introduced by Chairman Davis and Ranking Member Doggett (D-TX). This legislation requires the relevant agency secretary or program administrator to establish consistent requirements for the electronic content and format of data used in the administration of several additional human services programs established in the Social Security Act, including Child Support Enforcement and Supplemental Security Income.
One example for improving the exchange of data among programs recommended by the enacted and proposed legislation is the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM). NIEM provides a data model, governance, and methodologies to engage stakeholders in adopting a standards-based approach to exchanging information. Initially used to coordinate the exchange of law enforcement information, HHS is a recent adopter and advocate for transitioning human services programs to NIEM.
In announcing the hearing, Chairman Davis stated, “The progress made in the last year is only the first step in a much longer process of bringing human service programs into the 21st century. The standardization activities reviewed in this hearing will promote transparency, flexibility, and accountability by ensuring data can be shared across the various information technology platforms used by federal and state agencies. Improving the use of this program data will benefit program recipients and taxpayers alike by ensuring efficient and effective stewardship of scarce taxpayer funds.”
FOCUS OF THE HEARING:
The hearing will focus on current and future data standardization efforts designed to increase the use of technology to improve the administration of public benefit programs.
DETAILS FOR SUBMISSION OF WRITTEN COMMENTS:
Please Note: Any person(s) and/or organization(s) wishing to submit for the hearing record must follow the appropriate link on the hearing page of the Committee website and complete the informational forms. From the Committee homepage, https://waysandmeans.house.gov, select “Hearings.” Select the hearing for which you would like to submit, and click on the link entitled, “Click here to provide a submission for the record.” Once you have followed the online instructions, submit all requested information. ATTACH your submission as a Word document, in compliance with the formatting requirements listed below, by the close of business on Thursday, May 3, 2012. Finally, please note that due to the change in House mail policy, the U.S. Capitol Police will refuse sealed-package deliveries to all House Office Buildings. For questions, or if you encounter technical problems, please call (202) 225-1721 or (202) 225-3625.
The Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record. As always, submissions will be included in the record according to the discretion of the Committee. The Committee will not alter the content of your submission, but we reserve the right to format it according to our guidelines. Any submission provided to the Committee by a witness, any supplementary materials submitted for the printed record, and any written comments in response to a request for written comments must conform to the guidelines listed below. Any submission or supplementary item not in compliance with these guidelines will not be printed, but will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.
1. All submissions and supplementary materials must be provided in Word format and MUST NOT exceed a total of 10 pages, including attachments. Witnesses and submitters are advised that the Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record.
2. Copies of whole documents submitted as exhibit material will not be accepted for printing. Instead, exhibit material should be referenced and quoted or paraphrased. All exhibit material not meeting these specifications will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.
3. All submissions must include a list of all clients, persons and/or organizations on whose behalf the witness appears. A supplemental sheet must accompany each submission listing the name, company, address, telephone, and fax numbers of each witness.
The Committee seeks to make its facilities accessible to persons with disabilities. If you are in need of special accommodations, please call 202-225-1721 or 202-226-3411 TTD/TTY in advance of the event (four business days notice is requested). Questions with regard to special accommodation needs in general (including availability of Committee materials in alternative formats) may be directed to the Committee as noted above.
Note: All Committee advisories and news releases are available on the World Wide Web at http://www.waysandmeans.house.gov/.