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State of Nebraska Historic Projects

Current Projects

 

Table of Contents

Agency Project
Nebraska Department of Corrections Lincoln Correctional Center Canteen
Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality Supply Acquisition
Nebraska State Patrol Streamlining the Internet Crimes Against Children Process
Department of Health & Human Services Swimming Pool Operators Certification Process
Department of Agriculture Contract Review Process
State Fire Marshal Plan Review Process
Department of Health & Human Services:
Division of Development Disabilities
Individual Family Meeting and Risk Screen Process
Nebraska Department of Transportation Environmental Categorical Exclusions (CE-1) Contracts
Nebraska State Crime Commission Law Enforcement Training Center Database Process
Department of Administrative Services Federal Grant Process Condensed
Nebraska Department of Correctional Services Accident Vehicle Report
Department of Health and Human Services Hastings Regional Center Medication Ordering Proces
Nebraska State Patrol Sworn Hiring Process
Nebraska Department of Labor Bill Pay DEAs and FAVs
Nebraska Department of Veterans' Affairs Employee Reimbursement Form
Department of Health and Human Services Social Services and Aged and Disabled Coordination

 

 

Nebraska Department of Corrections

Lincoln Correctional Center Canteen

LCC CanteenThis is the process of how inmates at the Lincoln Correctional Center order and receive items from the canteen. All Canteen staff were involved in the process. 72 total steps were required for the process. These steps included sorting out orders, ringing up partial orders and delivering receipts to the housing units. This required 3.5 hours of staff time. Addition steps included delivering orders to housing units often requiring multiple trips due to required corrections. This process required 16 hours per week to deliver to the two housing units.

25 steps were removed from the process. Mental health and Protective custody inmates now come to the canteen to receive their orders, rather than having it delivered. Canteen staff no longer enter partial orders or deliver receipts to the housing units. In total, 9 hours of staff time per week have been freed up with the new process. Mental Health and Protective Custody inmates now have direct access to canteen staff to discuss concerns or problems while at the canteen rather than having to respond to a KITE. Mental Health inmates have increased social interaction. All inmates may now purchase items discounted for quick sale, helping to prevent these items from being wasted due to an expiration date. Canteen Staff have time freed up to focus on other duties, which helps to ensure the safety of the institution.

Photo Information: Canteen Supervisor Bobbie Kenyon (left) and Sarah Kroll (right).

 

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Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality

Supply Acquisition

Nebraska Department of Environmental QualityThe process and responsibilities for ordering and acquiring office supplies had not been clearly defined throughout the agency. Many agency staff were extremely frustrated finding basic items such as pens and pads of paper. Most staff had the ability to request keys to the locked supply area, and this led to a variety of inefficiencies. Staff unfamiliar with what was available in the supply room would waste effort when trying to find their supplies, it was difficult to track inventory and supply use, and greater definition was needed regarding the process for ordering supplies for projects that had specialized needs. An Office Supply Team analyzed the existing situation and defined a better supply management process for all in the agency. The process focused primarily on two areas: 1) The agency needed greater control of the central supply room on fourth floor; and 2) Staff needed to have unencumbered access to common “core” items on each floor. For the locked supply area, all floors now have designated Program/Floor Supply Ambassadors who have access to the main supply room.

The new process should provide staff with easier, more efficient procedures in two ways. First, for common core items, there is no need to seek access to the locked supply room. Second, for projects that need specialized supplies, or that would require core items beyond normal office use, staff have clear procedures on who to contact, and how to order the supplies. The SOP also details which supervisors have authority to approve purchase orders preventing delays. The new process also improves coordination among support staff, to ensure there is a more unified approach in ordering and maintaining supplies. The Supply Ambassadors are meeting frequently to evaluate how the process is operating and inclusion of additional improvements.

Photo Information: Left – Right: Jeff Edwards, Lindsey Roark, Geof Searles, Lauren Triplett, Alicia Boss, Ryan Chapman, Matthew Standley. Missing are: Cara Bentrup, Candi Bazata, Janell Miller.

 

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Nebraska State Patrol

Streamlining the Internet Crimes Against Children Process/

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children logoEach year, over 700 leads or tips about potential crimes involving Nebraska children using the internet (photos, videos, trafficking) are received at the Nebraska State Patrol Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) division. That information is then investigated by NSP itself or given to other law enforcement agencies to pursue, depending on jurisdiction constraints. Over the last 8 years, Nebraska tips related to internet crimes against children have grown by 800%. The process for receiving and distributing the information has struggled to keep pace with the growth. The process involved duplicative research, multiple delays/waits and handoffs to make sure the information was handled with due care. As the tips increased over time, the inefficient process created a backlog of 90+ cases and an average lead time of 16 days, and in some cases more than 6 months, before cases were assigned and investigations started. A process improvement project helped the ICAC team and investigators to identify work that was being duplicated, the inefficiency of waiting between steps of researching and follow up to eventually getting a case assigned to an investigator. After the backlog is erased, most cases will be assigned to investigators the same day information/tips are received. As cases are assigned and resolved sooner, it is less likely additional crimes or children can be victimized by the same offender. Reduced burden on courts and county attorneys doing duplicate investigative research for cases. Elimination of duplicate work done by ICAC staff and investigators.

 

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Department of Health & Human Services

Swimming Pool Operators Certification Process

The process certifies swimming pool operators. In order to become a swimming pool operator, one must submit an application and receive a passing score on an exam and then one can be approved. The year would start with scheduling Pool Operator Clinics, reserving facilities and posting exam dates. Copies of exam dates were made and sent out with pool permit renewals. Applications were received by mail and reviewed for accuracy and to verify the appropriate fees were included. Assuming no corrections were needed, information was then entered into an excel spreadsheet and the applications with fees were sent via interoffice mail to the Licensure Unit. The Licensure Unit then sent the applications with fees to Accounting. Once processed, the applications were returned to the Licensure Unit where they were filed for storage. An individual form Environmental Health then creates an exam packet, obtains a list of examinees and would travel to the exam site. Once at the site, the clinic and exam is held. Once all applicants had taken the exam, the DHHS employee would return to the NSOB (Nebraska State Office Building) with the completed exams (or, if the employee wasn’t returning to the NSOB, the exams would be mailed back). The scantron answer forms were reviewed for completeness, sorted, and sent to UNL for scoring. Once scored, the scantrons were sent back to the NSOB along with the results. The results were then delivered to the Licensure Unit where they were entered into LIS (Licensure Information System). If an applicant failed an exam, a denial letter was issued, signed, and sent to the applicant who would have to restart the process. If the applicant passed the exam, the information would be checked off a list, entered onto the form, and issued. If the applicant was renewing (assuming the license did not expire after payment), it would be processed into LIS as a standard renewal.

The process involved over 8 employees. 1,000 Pool Operator Certifications were issued in 2016 with 867 issued in 2017. Pool Operator Certifications are valid for 2 years. The average lead time for operator certifications could be as long as 68 hours. By the end of the LSS project, lead time was reduced by 74%, processing time by 20% and the number of process steps were reduced by 86%. The project team identified online exam software that was already in use within the agency. The applicant now registers for the course and submits payment to the Licensure unit. One individual in Licensure has replaced the previous work flow (eliminating 12 hand-offs). This individual enters application data into the Licensure Information System, sends the application fee to accounting, and provides the applicant with a link to training materials and the online exam. Once the applicant has taken the exam, Licensure enters the applicant’s exam score and the applicant is notified if he or she has passed or failed the exam. Improved schedule flexibility (applicant can take it online anytime). Reduced travel time and expenses for state employees.

 

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Department of Agriculture

Contract Review Process

NDA executes approximately 95 contacts per year with outside entities that fund research, education, promotion and inspections supporting agriculture in Nebraska. Multiple focus areas at NDA initiate contracts with outside entities. Each contract goes through a review process before it is signed and sent. The review process allows for a legal check as well as executive review and signature. This process was improved through a DMAIC project with a 79% reduction in lead time, 57% reduction in process time 51% reduction in process steps. The project team focused on reducing handoffs that can lead to delays in the process as well as development of a process with visibility during the review and consistent storage of executed contract agreements. Handoffs were reduced by 55% and delays by 69%. An improved process for contract initiators and executives allows efficient review of contact agreements removing delays in the execution of services and partnerships that support agriculture in Nebraska.

Department of Agriculture image

Project team members Pat Moock, Tracy Luu, Julie Kuhl, Casey Foster, Steve Martin, and Jeanene Canavino complete clean sheet redesign.

 

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State Fire Marshal

Plan Review Process

The Nebraska State Fire Marshal (NSFM) Plans Division completed a project on the process of Plans Review. The Plans Review process encompasses the intake, code review, approval, fee collection, and storage of plan reviews. This process is crucial to ensure the safety businesses making addition to their structure and families needing to make changes to their residential households. The NSFM Plans Division reviews plans for both new and existing businesses and family households. Plans review is the process of approving or disproving the proposed creation or alteration of a structure by physically reviewing paper plans to ensure they are compatible with adopted building codes. One of three certified architects review all plans. An inspection of the property is completed at a later date by a NSFM inspector. To better facilitate the process, the application was simplified to prevent errors that were causing delays in the approval process. Steps of the process decreased by more than half, resulting in a timesaving of more than 15 days. This benefits of the project are that businesses and households start their construction sooner. Businesses and households have a solid idea on the turnaround time of the plan review. The application was simplified by removing unneeded information and adding the staff assistant phone number and email available for any application clarification. The Plan Division staff will now involve the inspectors and businesses or households about issues relating to the project are discussed.

State Fire Marshal Plans Division Manager, Megan Talbott, is reviewing an architectural floor plan in her office located in Lincoln.

 

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Department of Health & Human Services - Division of Development Disabilities

Individual Family Meeting and Risk Screen Process

DHHS Risk Screen Process imageDHHS’s Service Coordinators (SCs) are required to hold an annual Individual/Family Meeting and complete Risk Screens with Individuals receiving Medicaid Home and Community Based Services. 215 Service Coordinators hold an annual IFM with 4,576 individuals and guardians/families every year. The IFM process takes an average of 144 minutes of process time and 65 hours of lead time. A Personal Focus Worksheet was completed during each IFM and Service Coordinator Supervisors are required to approve upon completion. The Risk Screen process involved Program Specialist RNs who reviewed and entered the completed risk screens into a data base.

A diverse team of staff from the Division of Developmental Disabilities worked to improve the IFM and Risk Screen process which resulted in cutting 84% of the process, from 83 steps to 13. They reduced the processing time from 144 to 59 minutes and reduced the lead time from 65 hours to 10 hours, as well as eliminating travel time for both the Service Coordinator and the Individuals/Families/Guardians. By replacing the Personal Focus Worksheet with a case note, the required information is gathered and the process has eliminated the unnecessary documentation, which resulted in the process time savings. Handoffs to the Program Specialist RNs and Service Coordinator Supervisors were also eliminated, resulting in an 85% reduction in lead time.

The improvements to this process also eliminated repetitive questions that are asked later in another process. The travel to/from the meeting has been eliminated unless requested by the Individual/Family/Guardian. The preparation of the Risk Screens for Program Specialists RNs took longer than doing the actual risk screens by the Service Coordinators themselves while eliminating delays and handoffs.

 

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Nebraska Department of Transportation

Environmental Categorical Exclusions (CE-1) Contracts

nebraska Department of Transportation imageNDOT’s Environmental Section of the Project Development Division oversees the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) environmental analyses required of all federal-aid construction projects. NEPA documentation falls into several categories of analysis based on the respective complexity and environmental impact of a project. Categorical Exclusion Level 1 (CE-1) is one such category undertaken by the section. It is the most basic category of analysis because CE-1 projects have the least potential for environmental impact. In 2015, an agreement between NDOT and the Federal Highway Administration allowed the Department to process certain Categorical Exclusion analyses. At the same time, the Environmental Section was encouraged to utilize consultant labor for NEPA analyses. The practice became commonplace. Despite efficiencies built into the system by standardized scope and cost estimating, NDOT staff involvement was high. Staff spent significant time in back-and-forth communication with consultants, sharing information, reviewing work and ensuring quality for official documentation. The back-and-forth communication prompted the withholding of some projects for in-house analysis in 2017. Subsequent results proved in-house work more efficient than outsourced work.

The better efficiency of in-house analyses drove a decision to avoid consultant services altogether in 2018. During 2016 and 2017, the Environmental Section averaged 37 CE-1 documents per year, and the average cost per consultant-prepared analysis document was $11,575. Moving toward staff assumption of CE-1 document preparation in 2018 allowed the Department to avoid these expenditures. Utilization of section staff for CE-1 projects saved $428,275 for NDOT’s primary customer, the Nebraska taxpayer, through June 2018. The savings resulted from avoidance of consultant services on 35 CE-1 projects. By yearend, the Department’s new policy will save another $208,350, bringing the total projected savings in taxpayer money to $636,625 on 55 CE-1 projects.

 

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Nebraska State Crime Commission

Law Enforcement Training Center Database Process

Crime Commission imageThe Grand Island (GI) Law Enforcement Training Center (LETC) Database Process handles the responsibility of creating and storing the training records. The process accepts the application of the students, registers the and the process is involved with a 15-week basic course that takes place three times a year. There are 50 student slots in each course. The LETC trains other specialized courses such as self-defense and fire arms qualification. There are seven staff at the LETC that handle the process duties. These teammates handle a great deal of documentation, including test scores, certificates, training records, applications, termination letters, training curriculums, invoices and receipts, rosters and letters. Many documents are kept as hard copies in filing cabinets and electronically. The process is also an operational pain point where every staff member is a subject expert matter on only their part of the process. If any of the staff are out of the office, the process stops until they return back to the office. There is a plan to implement crosstraining so teammates’ duties will be complete even if they are out of the office.

The main focus of the project team was to simplify the LETC Database Process by identifying and removing waste, handoffs, reworks, and errors. The project team also discovered an opportunity to eliminate hard copy filings and rely on electronic filing of training records. The process was shortened from 136 steps to 57 steps. The process is simplified so the Law Enforcement Training Center staff can serve the Law Enforcement Training Center Students, other law enforcement agencies, and streamline their own duties to accomplish the Bottom Line. The Bottom Line is to certify students into Police Officers, train specialized courses, and maintain the records for all training activities.

 

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Department of Administrative Services

Federal Grant Process Condensed

Daily draw of Federal Grant funds available to the State of Nebraska state agencies through awards and or requests. One State accounting teammate receives a printed copy of the Delays of Draw (DOD) report each morning. This report lists the requested federal grant amount from state agencies.Previous, the teammate would complete 22 tasks in 6 hours to complete the process. The process was improved by automation, and by removing non-value-added steps. Fifteen steps were cut, and the time was reduced to two hours for this process. In addition, 11 quality checks were removed as well. This improved process will save approximately 1000 hours, or $33,000 per year. External customers will experience faster processing of Federal grants. Pictured are teammates from DAS (L to R): Shannon Muffly, Lily Kathee and Doris Gunn, mapping the current state process. Teammate Kelly Porath is facilitating.

 

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Nebraska Department of Correctional Services

Accident Vehicle Report

Department of Corrections ImageIt is the process by which team members involved in a crash submit accident reports, estimates and photographs to the vehicle coordinator at their facility. Those are then forwarded to the materiel control manager and then to the Nebraska Risk Management Association for approval and repairs. When state vehicles incurred damage, reports were not submitted in a timely manner, which delayed repairs. The facilities were responsible for submitting a vehicle accident report, DMV report, photos of damages and estimates from two auto body shops. Reports were not always completed accurately, and duplicate estimates often delayed the approval of repairs and thereby, the repairs themselves. The process took 72 days to be completed and included 17 hand-offs or delays.

To better facilitate the process, each facility will have a simple list of instructions, a timeline for completing the report and instructions on who should receive the report once completed. Hand offs/delays have been reduced from 17 to 12. The time the process takes, from start to finish, has been reduced from 72.5 days to 38.9 days. The amount of required paperwork has also been reduced – now, only one DMV report and one damage estimate is required. This has significantly reduced the delays resulting from taking vehicles to two different auto body shops and waiting on estimates and repairs to be completed. This is especially helpful for facilities in rural areas. Staff will become more and more familiar with completing the report in an accurate and timely manner. The materiel control manager will submit an electronic file of the packet completed by the facility to the Nebraska Risk Management Association, which will expedite the approval response. Increased communication between facilities, the Materiel Control manager and Nebraska Risk Management Association. Involvement and support of the executive leadership for sustained change. Pictured: Staff Assistant Annette Powers inspects a vehicle before it goes out on a business trip.

 

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Department of Health and Human Services

Hastings Regional Center Medication Ordering Process

Hastings Regional Center imageThe Hastings Regional Center streamlined its Medication Ordering to ensure consistency and reduce costs. The previous process had many delays due to nurses ordering medications multiple times a day, driving to a pharmacy to pick up medications and ordering from a fax machine in another office.

The Hastings Regional Center reduced medication ordering steps by 70%. In the updated process, orders are processed consistently several times a week and the pharmacy delivers the medication in a timely, efficient manner. This allows nurses to spend more time caring for youth and providing critical health services.

 

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Nebraska State Patrol

Sworn Hiring Process

NSP Hiring ProjectThe State Patrol typically hires 25-50 sworn officers per year. The hiring process is a thorough review of an applicant’s background and readiness. The team had been using an 8-week hiring period to post openings and conduct physical/educational testing through CALEA. It took 6 months to screen applicants and only 8% of candidates made it through. Year after year, total application numbers, including those by female and minority candidates, had been declining.

The application process was updated to a year-round, ongoing period, and now includes a supplemental questionnaire to increase the quanitity and quality of candidates. Processing time has been reduced by 59%, giving the Patrol an additional 3,200 hours of investigation time, and reducing overall agency costs.

 

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Nebraska Department of Labor

Bill Pay DEAs and FAVs

Dept of Labor imageThe Bill Pay DEAs and FAVs process allows the Nebraska Department of Labor’s Employment and Training program to obtain approvals for program expenditures, while remaining in compliance with State regulations. The current process delayed participants/vendors from receiving reimbursements for approved expenses, taking an average of 66 days for reimbursement.

The Department of Labor improved the process by reducing process steps by 64%, allowing participants/vendors to provide copies of receipts, and standardizing the documentation and approval process. Participants and vendors are now reimbursed an average of 41 days earlier.

 

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Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs

Employee Reimbursement Form

Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs imageNebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs (NDVA) was able to reduce process time and eliminate 26 steps after reviewing the procedures for teammates to submit employment reimbursement documents. NDVA provided written instructions to teammates on how to complete the form and routed the form electronically for approval to eliminate paper waste.

(Pictured) During the process walk, members of the NDVA team demonstrated the process of submitting a reimbursement form. (From left to right) Dawn Longwell is submitting her reimbursement form for approval with Dan Albrecht’s assistance while Kylie Hatten observes and takes notes.

 

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Department of Health and Human Services

Social Services and Aged and Disabled Coordination

Department of Health and Human Services imageSocial Services Aged and Disabled (SSAD) is a state-funded program that provides in-home services and is very similar to the Personal Assistance Services (PAS) program. Eligibility for these two programs is handled by separate agencies and clients do not always know if they should apply for SSAD or PAS (they cannot be enrolled in both simultaneously).

Through client interviews, it was revealed that applicants were often transferred between multiple DHHS teammates in different divisions and found it difficult to determine which program they should apply for. Interviews were conducted with social services workers, a majority of whom expressed issues with being assigned the more complex and specialized SSAD cases that they were often unsure how to handle.

The number of teammates who handle SSAD cases was reduced from 105 to 20. The teammates working on these cases are the ones who had the highest accuracy and proficiency dealing with these cases. This reduced the process time for each case, resulting in a savings of over 1,350 hours annually. In addition, it allowed the remaining 85 teammates to focus on their program cases, application processing, and other work tasks.

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