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Va. Panel Looks To Streamline State Agencies and Programs

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A panel in Virginia is studying ways to streamline state government. Last year, the group consolidated or abolished 49 boards and commissions. Now, the panel is looking at ways to restructure state agencies and programs.

Many proposed reforms are on the table. Secretary of Health and Human Resources Bill Hazel says a federal mandate requires states to expand Medicaid coverage, and Virginia must change how it handles 1.1 million applications per year.

"We have about a 16 percent error rate on Medicaid applications," explains Hazel. "Unacceptable. Some people get Medicaid that shouldn't, others don’t get it who should."

The panel is still pursuing goals of four-day work weeks for some state employees to save costs.

Human Resource Management Director Sarah Wilson told the members that funding the unused leave of state workers is problematic.

"This is an unfunded liability for the agencies," Wilson says. "And if everyone in my agency that's eligible to retire today retired, I don’t have the money to cover it."

Also under discussion is an inventory of surplus state property and building that need to be gauged as to whether they should be used or sold.

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