Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Archive for the ‘Best Practices’ Category

State issues online guide to appealing health claim denials

by Matt Rosenberg April 29th, 2011

SUMMARY: The Washington state Office of the Insurance Commissioner has published an online consumer guide to appealing denied health insurance claims. It includes sections on how to correctly launch your appeal, traits of successful and unsuccessful appeals, a detailed summary of consumer best practices in appealing denied health care claims, and a templated work sheet for tracking calls, e-mails and step-by-step results.

Printing reforms could save Washington state up to $13.6 million per year

by Matt Rosenberg April 25th, 2011

SUMMARY: According to a newly-released state performance audit, Washington could save between $5 million and $13.6 million per year by eliminating duplication in printing operations, controlling costs of printing equipment and supplies, using electronic technologies – more often than now – in place of paper printing, and by clearing obstacles that constrain competitive bidding including private firms.

U.S. Audit Of Peace Arch Border Facility Rebuild: Construction Contract Management Was Lax, Costly

by Matt Rosenberg March 29th, 2011

SUMMARY: Contrary to mandates and guidelines meant to ensure competition in government construction contracting, the U.S. General Services Administration set aside the lead contractor’s proposed guaranteed maximum price of $59.9 million for construction phase services to redevelop the U.S.-Canada Peace Arch border crossing at Blaine, Wash. Instead the GSA approved a start to construction with no price cap and then more than a dozen piecemeal modifications based on estimates from subcontractors until finally okaying a ceiling of $91.4 million for all construction costs. An independent audit by the GSA’s Office of the Inspector General reports that the GSA’s Public Building Service, which managed the Peace Arch project contracting, improperly assumed financial risk for the project which should have been borne by the lead construction contractor (J.E. Dunn Construction of Kirkland, Wash., not named in the audit). Appropriations for the project included $26 million in U.S. Recovery Act funds. The audit directs the building service to ensure that in the future all similar contracts are bid competitively and a firm price ceiling is established at the outset.

CBO Director Stresses Rising Public Debt, Taxes, Spending

by Matt Rosenberg March 14th, 2011

SUMMARY: In a public presentation and official blog post last week, U.S. Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas W. Elmendorf warned of rising U.S. public debt. It hit $9 trillion or 62 percent of Gross Domestic Product at year-end 2010, and is projected by the CBO to rise to at least 77 percent of GDP by 2021, or nearly 100 percent if certain current tax breaks are extended, raising the risk of a national fiscal crisis. Elmendorf stated that the growing public debt, driven by deficit spending, necessitates hard decisions by Congress about federal budget and tax policies – in order to reverse course and stimulate income growth and investment while maximizing the benefits of federal spending. He stressed that eliminating waste and inefficiency will not be enough to get the nation’s fiscal house in order and accented the recommendations of the Presidentially-appointed National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, that Congress should cut spending on federal health care programs, defense, agriculture, and military and civil service retirement, while also ending selected federal tax breaks. He recommends Congress aim to settle on the needed fiscal reforms in the near-term – even if they are implemented more gradually – in order to help stabilize the economy.