About Nevada Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)
The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) promotes the health and well-being of its residents through the delivery or facilitation of a multitude of essential services to ensure families are strengthened, public health is protected, and individuals achieve their highest level of self-sufficiency. The Department is the largest in state government and is comprised of several divisions, including the Aging and Disability Services, Child and Family Services, Health Care Financing and Policy, Public and Behavioral Health, Welfare and Supportive Services, and the Public Defender.
Cindy Smith, Chief, Office of Community Partnerships and Grants (OCPG) and her team manage seven federal and state funding streams, which total approximately $55 million (excluding funding granted to sister State agencies) and 100+ sub-recipients, to support the Department Divisions. They also conduct all fiscal and programmatic monitoring, as well as generate all federal and state reporting for the 13 programs under management, including Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, the Community Services Block Grant, and Title XX.
Difficulty Evaluating Program and Sub-Recipient Effectiveness
Like many state agencies, the Department receives federal and state funding that is granted out through a formulaic or competitive application process. Smith and her team are responsible for soliciting applications and selecting sub-recipients to whom they award grant funding; ultimately collecting performance and budget related data to report back to the federal or state government on the outcomes.
“What’s time-consuming in the report...is making sure that [sub-recipients] reporting is correct. That’s why it’s important for us to check either quarterly or monthly so that we can catch it early.”
Although the Department leveraged an existing system to solicit and collect applications, they lacked a central access point for sub-recipients to provide outcomes, instead leveraging email and spreadsheets to get the job done. The number of disconnected files coming from such a large number of stakeholders created an environment prone to errors, which made monthly, or even quarterly, reporting virtually impossible. Artificial silos were created due to lack of standardized processes, causing significant challenges in evaluating the effectiveness of the programs overall.
The Department knew that a change had to be made.
Bringing Everyone and Everything Together
With the pressure mounting to prove to legislatures that they are in fact delivering on their objectives, Nevada DHHS moved to centralize and standardize their grant management process using AmpliFund with Competitive Award Management and Sub-Recipient Management add-on modules.
“Our agency provides a report to the legislature annually, reporting on the awards, expenditures, and outcomes. This report tells them who provided the services that were funded, if they met their outcomes.”
This solution allowed the Department to create their programs in AmpliFund, then leverage the grant making features to produce a publicly accessible application process for potential recipients to provide submissions. Within the web-based system, the applications followed a structured internal scoring and review process—aided by workflows—to determine the most qualified recipients. Applicants selected were then awarded through the system and provided a Sub-Recipient License of AmpliFund linked to the Department’s account to begin tracking their accomplishments timely.
“I think that helped the sub-recipients, as well, to not have those errors, and they’re actually putting it into the system and we can see that.”
Reports, reimbursement requests, and even amendment requests are all submitted through the system for review to take action, ultimately saving time, eliminating paper, and providing a true audit trail for the life of the award. For Nevada DHHS, the most tangible benefit from having all sub-recipients using one system is the ability to collect and standardize data in one system for ease of reporting on a much more frequent basis.
“Really looking at everything in more of a quarterly, monthly basis, instead of at the end of the year,” said Smith, “We did a little bit, but it was not to the scale that we’re trying to do now.”
AmpliFund is the new standard in grant management, enabling both grantors and grantees to manage every stage of the grant lifecycle. Our centralized, data-centric approach provides significant improvements to grant funding efficacy in the form of enhanced management, allocation, transparency, and compliance. Learn more.
Image credit: David Stanley