The advanced technology behind Michigan's welfare delivery system, developed by Deloitte, has been recognized with a coveted national award for outstanding achievement from the Center for Digital Government.
The Digital Government Achievement Awards spotlight outstanding agency and department websites and applications. Michigan's integrated eligibility and payment system, known as Bridges, was one of only seven federal and state projects cited this year for excellence in the 'government-to-citizen' category.
"What began in 2006 as the nation's largest overhaul of a state welfare system is now a national model for cutting-edge, easy-to-use technology," said David Behen, Michigan's chief information officer. "Deloitte helped us replace three legacy systems in 83 counties so we could deliver vital human services in the most efficient way possible. The productivity gains achieved by our state have been significant."
This year, the Center for Digital Government presented 43 awards in six categories. The contest was open to all U.S. and international government agencies with actively functioning, fully operational projects.
Prior to 2009, Michigan caseworkers repeatedly entered the same data and maneuvered between multiple computer systems to determine eligibility for cash, medical, food and child care assistance. Since then, Bridges has improved worker productivity and increased accuracy of benefits. The state is now able to serve more families more promptly and with fewer errors. This is particularly important as the national economic recession has increased demand for services as rapidly as state revenues have declined.
In 2010, Bridges administered more than 54 unique public assistance benefits totaling more than $330 million a month to nearly one-fifth of Michigan residents – about 2.2 million people. The state's old mainframe-based system could not have kept pace with current caseloads, according to state officials.
Today, Michigan's human service workers have caseloads 75 percent larger than they did in 2006 – and they are serving about 800,000 more people. Using modern web-based technology and service-oriented architecture, Deloitte developed the Bridges integrated eligibility system with intuitive technology and easy-to-navigate screens. Even with reduced staff, the timeliness of processing nutrition assistance benefits has been maintained at 96 percent, and the payment error rate is now a record low of 3.1 percent, down from 7.6 percent.
MiBridges is Michigan's fully integrated client-facing portal that will also allow public assistance clients to check their case status and other key information over the Internet, report eligibility changes, apply for benefits and complete online renewals for health care, nutrition, child care and cash benefits.
"We helped Michigan fundamentally change the way they do business while simultaneously improving their ability to serve the state's most vulnerable children and families," said Dr. Wade Horn, director, Deloitte Consulting LLP. "We're proud of that fact, and privileged to have implemented, maintained and enhanced eligibility and self-service applications for 22 states."
Bridges was also recognized this year with a distinguished award from the National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO). This was one of five awards Michigan won in NASCIO's annual competition of information technology excellence – more than any other state.
About Deloitte's State Government practice
Deloitte has served state governments for more than 45 years, including 45 of the 50 U.S. states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Deloitte focuses on six areas crucial to state governments: health and human services, finance and administration, law and justice, transportation, education, and labor and industry.
 Source: Michigan Green Book
 Source: Michigan Quality Assurance Review Report