A new software that the Greene County Public Administrator is requesting in their upcoming budget could significantly change the way they oversee the 550 wards under their charge.
The software, EMS (Estate Management System), would allow the staff of the PA’s office to be able to access records in real time anywhere they have computer access. This would allow social service deputies in the office to make sure when they’re called about a ward the most accurate and up-to-date information is available for necessary decisions.
It was revealed in the budget meeting that the current system involves the keeping of a “book” with all the information printed and placed within it. Outside of office hours, one social service deputy is on call to respond if a ward needs assistance. The deputy must keep the book available at all times so they can research the cases and make a decision based on the information within the book.
If the software purchase is approved by the County Commission, not only would it allow the 24/7 access to the most accurate information but it would also allow data such as bank statements to be imported automatically into the system, cutting down staff time currently used managing that paperwork and reducing overall office costs in the reduction of office supplies and shredding costs.
Also, the new system would be automatically updated to comply with all HIPPA regulations and changes to law. The current system, which was described by the Public Administrator as “very cumbersome and not effective” during the meeting, has flaws that could allow situations that would hamper the accounts of wards. One such flaw would allow the system to send out a check that causes an overdraft on a ward’s account.
The cost per case each month on the new system could run as low as $5.40, which the Public Administrator said would be a lower cost than it would be for staff time to manage the data within the system. It would also free up the staff to focus on cases and the legal matters surrounding the wards as the PA’s office brought almost all of their legal action in-house to save on overall costs and to generate office revenue.
The Public Administrator’s office, required under state law, oversees three major areas of casework:
- Guardian and/or conservator for mentally disabled persons
- personal representative of deceased estates
- as conservator of minor estates.
However, the overwhelming majority of cases handled by the PA’s office is as a guardian and/or conservator for mentally disabled persons.