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San Luis Obispo Automated Progress

Article By: Michele Chambers & Chris Haggie

Five years ago in 2003, CalWIN was lurking on the horizon for the 18 County WCDS Consortium. A handful of SLO staff had just completed e-learning in Folsom as our county CalWIN testers. Some of our staff decided to stay in Folsom to work at the ‘Project’. Our management made a decision to utilize integrated case managers to meet the person-based design of CalWIN. We knew we would face many challenges changing our business process to a single worker for all programs by the time we would be facing CalWIN implementation in May 2006.

In 2003 our county had just developed and was ready to launch DSS Net, our Department’s intranet site to access resources electronically. The design of DSS Net intentionally incorporated the salient navigational features of CalWIN in order to accustom our staff to using a computer rather than paper to locate electronic resources such as forms and desk guides. In late July, under tight budget constraints, we launched DSS Net to help accomplish the budgetary goal of increased savings through cost reduction of print and paper costs. It was also anticipated that DSS Net would help prepare staff for CalWIN by honing their computer skills while learning to access resources electronically. The 3 years of change process that converted much of our eligibility staff to an integrated single worker model plus the experience of working with an electronic resource directory over this period resulted in a smoother implementation of CalWIN in May 2006 than anticipated.

Today there are almost 4,500 documents available on DSS Net providing a common location where staff from all offices can access electronic resources of all kinds. Surprisingly, there are many more Desk Guides and Training materials than Forms.

Today we issue benefits through CalWIN with speed and ease. Our integrated multi-program case managers operate well in combination with the support of the regulations logic programmed into CalWIN. Some of our interpretations of the regulations under the CDS legacy system were found to be incorrect. When CalWIN gave us an unexpected outcome, we researched and learned during the process that CalWIN was correctly interpreting the regulations. One of our big projects late last year was to update our entire electronic eligibility program Desk Guides on DSS Net to include CalWIN user guides and remove all traces of the now defunct Case Data System.

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