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Office of Governor Pete Ricketts

Gov. Ricketts: DHHS “Delivered” on First-Ever Business Plan

Media Contacts:  

Taylor Gage, 402-471-1970

Eric Maher, 402-471-1974



LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts applauded achievements made over the past year by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), as part of its first-ever business plan.


“One year ago, DHHS CEO Courtney Phillips and I launched the first-ever DHHS Business Plan,” said Governor Ricketts.  “It promised better services and efficiencies through strategic actions, measurable outcomes, and transparency.  Courtney and the team at DHHS delivered.” 


DHHS touches the lives of countless Nebraskans every day as it serves some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens.  Launched during the summer of 2016, the business plan, titled “Real Improvements, Sustainable Progress, Better Lives for Nebraskans,” included 25 initiatives aimed at integrating services, promoting independence, focusing on prevention, leveraging technology, and increasing operating efficiencies.


DHHS has fully completed 19 of the 25 initiatives and has made substantial progress on the others.  In fact, 199 of the 213 deliverables – over 93 percent – have been completed. 


“This is great news and another example of the changes we are bringing to state government to improve services for Nebraskans,” Governor Ricketts said.  “These DHHS accomplishments align with three of my top priorities: making state government more efficient and effective, being more customer-focused, and reducing regulatory complexity.”


“Our work at DHHS is better when we work together and when we’re working toward a common, shared purpose,” said DHHS CEO Courtney Phillips.  “This business plan set clear priorities, fostered collaboration, and helped us develop tools to hold ourselves accountable to each other, the public, and the people we serve.  Our success is the result of the dedicated work of our team.”


The outcomes achieved demonstrate that the commitment to improve services and processes can and will result in real change for Nebraskans, and include:


  • Sustained Reforms at ACCESSNebraska: A commitment to continuous quality improvement resulted in sustained progress for ACCESSNebraska.  Timely processing of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) applications, at 95.28 percent, moved Nebraska’s national ranking to 15th from 48th in April 2015.  The average call wait time has improved from nearly 24 minutes in August 2014 to under the goal of five minutes.
  • Shorter Application Period for Licenses: Simplified applications, streamlined screening, and faster turnaround times are improvements made for nurse, medication aide, and other licensing processes.  Medication aides saw the most significant improvement in reducing the licensing process from 39 days to nine.  These changes make a difference for professionals and the businesses that hire them, helping grow Nebraska.
  • Coordinated Medicaid Service Delivery: Heritage Health, Medicaid’s managed care program, was launched in January and combines physical, behavioral, and pharmacy services into one coordinated system.  Having one health plan responsible for a more complete range of services addresses the health care needs of the whole person and is an investment in more cost-effective services.  In May and June, the health plans processed more than 97 percent of claims submitted from providers without any errors within 15 days, more than meeting their contractual requirements of processing 90 percent within 15 days.
  • Transformed Behavioral Healthcare for Children: The Behavioral Health System of Care for children was launched.  This statewide public-private partnership builds on existing behavioral health resources and relationships, and realigns existing dollars so families can more easily navigate the behavioral health system.  The framework has been established and the first statewide service, crisis response, began in May. 
  • Customer-Friendly DD Services Application: DHHS redesigned the Developmental Disabilities services application, implemented the application on ACCESSNebraska, and drastically reduced the number of pages from 14 to 3.  Additionally, processing time decreased from an average of 69 days to 14 days.


Ricketts said the DHHS successes can also be attributed to a team dedicated to their mission of helping people live better lives, a commitment to excellence, and a focus on change and continuous improvement.

2016 HHS Business Plan Pie Charts.pdf