Purpose Statement

Background
Since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or commonly called, Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) passage in 2010, the current Administration has led efforts to standardize public health program eligibility policies, data use, and Information Technology (IT) tools to streamline the states’ public health business processes (ACA section 1561).

To further streamline states processes, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is leading efforts, through a public-private partnership (P3) State Data Exchange Community of Excellence (CoE). The purpose is to share participants’ ideas about ways to further advance the Administration’s “one government” vision.

P3s can drive innovation to new boundaries. Examples include Federal government programs such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Internet, global positioning system and the National Institutes of Health advances against heart disease and cancer through private funding.

The CoE will not be an “advisory committee” under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) (FACA) and will not be governed by FACA. The CoE will function solely to gather and share information and viewpoints of its individual members and will not provide advice as a whole.

Purpose/Goal
SSA will evaluate information that the CoE provides to understand the states’ data needs, evaluate 21st Century technology, consider policy changes, leverage Federal (Office of Management and Budget (OMB) A87 exemption) funding, prioritize initiatives and formulate plans to consider changes to SSA data sharing to support the states to modernize their aging health and human service data infrastructure and improve Americans’ service delivery while exercising due diligence to protect the public’s records.

The CoE does not replace or override any legal obligations to obtain public feedback in rulemaking or in any other forum.

Lead Component
SSA Office of Data Exchange (ODX), under the Office of Data Exchange and Policy Publications (ODEPP), is SSA's focal point for enterprise-wide data exchange activities. ODX will chair this CoE. ODX will consider ways that SSA may unify data exchange activities and improve program administration and efficiencies.

Members
Federal:

  • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
    • Administration of Children and Families (ACF)
    • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
    • Food and Nutrition Service (FNS)
  • SSA

Private:

  • American Public Health Services Association (APHSA)

State:

  • Medicaid and Human Service Program Administrators and their representatives

As activities evolve, participation may be extended to additional entities including the Department of Education, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of Labor, IRS or VA, the National Governors Association, State Chief Information Officers, and other state agencies (e.g., State Department of Labor, Department of Transportation, American Association of Motor Vehicle Administration).

This unique composition provides a broad representation of stakeholders that understand the needs, interests and benefits, risks or costs of expand data.

Format
Participants with diverse perspectives will share their insights and comments on ideas, engage in brainstorming, evaluate the merit of ideas from their perspective and engage directly with policy-makers. The objective is not consensus among stakeholders, but to have all sides of an issue vetted by stakeholders.

The CoE will promote an inclusive, collaborative, coordinated environment and approach to data sharing for health and human service programs. The CoE will prioritize ideas based on the idea’s consistency with the law, potential for implementation and fiscal responsibility.

Participants will gain more fully informed insights and a better appreciation for the multiple interests—often competing—for a particular policy area.

Each Federal agency will make its own independent determination on how best to handle or implement suggestions. SSA retains sole authority to determine whether to entertain the suggestions and if so, will prioritize the items.

Steering Committee
SSA’s ACA Team representatives, as designated, will serve as SSA’s CoE Steering Committee. The Steering Committee will determine areas of discussion; monitor feedback; set agendas, evaluate potential policy, business process and IT changes.

Activities
The CoE will initially focus on the states health and human service program data needs. It will develop a list of activities that the CoE may undertake if time and resources permit. Activities include:

  • Gain input on ways to improve data sharing at the federal-state level
  • Discuss costs and benefits of point-to-point data streams versus a consolidated data stream, e.g. hub approach to share data with the states, including data elements and programs that can use the data.
  • Discuss funding needs, business process changes that would be needed for any affected Federal agencies
  • Discuss data needs.
    • Data needs may require a phased approach to deliver. Data will be selected based on the level of demand for the data, the cost to deliver it (includes SSA, CMS, states) and potential to retire SSA’s aging data exchange infrastructure and reduce the resources required to maintain its data exchange agreement and security work.