Michigan Department of Human Services pilots project to make local offices paperless

Contact: Christina Fecher, media relations coordinator 517-373-7394

 July 25, 2011

BIG RAPIDS, Mich. - The Michigan Department of Human Services is piloting a project to go paperless in local offices to better safeguard documents and empower workers to more efficiently provide services to clients, Director of Field Services Terry Beurer said today.

The paperless office project, formally called electronic document management, is piloting in the Mecosta/Osceola County DHS office now through August. The project is expected to roll out to the Livingston and Shiawassee county DHS offices this fall before eventually being implemented statewide.

"We continuously strive to utilize technology not only to enhance the skills of our workforce, but to also maximize department efficiencies to deliver services to clients," Beurer said. "The return on investment for this initiative is great, truly benefiting everyone."

The project is expected to save more than $7.6 million annually in labor, and case transfer and storage costs.

Caseworkers currently spend a significant amount of time preparing case packets for clients, and maintaining, organizing and moving paper documents. The project will allow those documents, including copies of client information required to receive assistance, to be stored in a secure and electronic manner, Mecosta/Osceola County DHS Director Lewis Roubal said.

Additionally, it will cut down on time searching for documents and mailing case files between offices.

"Having documents available electronically at our fingertips will be a huge benefit. It truly leverages current-day technology to reduce the time staff spends shuffling papers and will allow us more flexibility, for example by allowing multiple caseworkers to work with a client when needed," Roubal said. "While clients won't be directly affected by this change, this will allow caseworkers to attend to their cases more quickly."

For more information on DHS, please visit www.michigan.gov/dhs. Follow DHS on Twitter @MichiganDHS.