Best Practices

The following States' best practices have been successful in increasing savings:

Filtering For Results

When Pennsylvania conducted its first interstate match we were surprised and overwhelmed to receive more than 12,000 hits just from one state. We knew the data had to be "massaged" before we sent the hits to our local offices for research and action; otherwise we felt certain we would face a revolt from staff. A cursory examination revealed many hits were due to Social Security number data entry errors. For example, it was extremely doubtful that an 8 year old girl and 76 year old man were one and the same. We had also not taken into consideration benefit eligibility dates and determined that we could safely eliminate 100's of hits as there was no overlapping period when an individual received benefits in both states simultaneously.

Our first attempt at running the Veterans Administration (VA) Match was also enlightening as we had nearly 30,000 hits; representing a potential workload nightmare.

As our involvement with data matching and PARIS grew, so did the ways we refined our match data to insure we were working smarter, not harder. What follows is a brief discussion of data filtering techniques used by Pennsylvania and other states.

  1. Before and After: Even though the match results are returned after submission very quickly, we are working with a very fluid population. Someone who was active when the data file was submitted may have been closed (due to an out-of-state move, perhaps) subsequent to the file submission. We compare the results of a match against our client database and are able to eliminate cases in this manner.
  2. Demographics: When doing the "after" comparison mentioned above, we match on sex, date of birth, and surname in addition to the Social Security number. While some good hits may be lost, many more bad hits are eliminated.
  3. Is the income known?: Before we post the VA Match hits for clearance, we compare the VA benefit amount against the known VA income amount. If we are aware of the benefit, we filter out that match. We also filter out Aid and Attendance payments.
  4. Matched before?: Not to be critical of others, but numerous complaints from our local staff were received concerning interstate match hits that had been resolved only to have the same hit appear on the next quarterly run. When the new hit was cleared, we learned, anecdotally, that the other state had not taken action on the previous match. To address the concern of our local staff, we filter out interstate match hits that had appeared on the previous quarter's match.
  5. Minimums: Some states filter matches based on time frames. For example, if the overlapping period of benefits between two states is less than 2 months, the match is filtered out. Another similar filter removes match hits in which benefits of less than a certain amount, say $50, are involved.

It is understood that filtering may result in good matches not being reviewed. However, since many of us have had adopt a "doing more with less" philosophy, filtering is a good business decision designed to give you the best results when resources are limited. And the folks who have to clear the matches will thank you.