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Records Management for Government Social Services Agencies
Complying with Government Funding Guidelines while Ensuring Family Privacy
The State of California provides incentives to low-income families to assist young mothers in the workplace with child support services. Crystal Stairs, Inc. is the largest such non-profit organization in the greater Los Angeles area appointed by the state to provide such services.
Crystal Stairs called upon Global Archives to design and implement a comprehensive records management system to meet its goals in claims processing and lower operating costs.
In operation for nearly 30 years, Crystal Stairs has been operating out of two large corporate facilities and several satellite offices. They process some 75,000 claims per month and are responsible for validating service providers — those organizations and individuals who assist mothers, prospective parents and their children.
Crystal Stairs also disburses payments to the service providers and is responsible for associated accounting processes for the State. As with any non-profit, government-funded agency, substantial auditing is required.
Crystal Stairs faces complex records management challenges due to its tens of thousands of transactions with individuals and organizations. Claims processing includes an intensive, manual workflow of approvals. As such, Crystal Stairs strives for smooth data flow, 100% accuracy, minimal redundancy (many documents are returned for incomplete or missing data), and accurate customer service.
The documentation process is complex, as both parents and service providers are obligated to manually complete a wide range of forms on a frequent basis and submit them to Crystal Stairs for approval and processing. Only once a family qualifies and a provider is appointed can the organization then begin processing claims for childcare services.
Ensuring Efficiency through Automation Amidst Budget Constraints
Constrained by budget cuts, Crystal Stairs relies upon outdated software to process claims. This system failed to keep pace with the volume of claims, lacked auditing capability, and addressed each claim individually; consequently, it ignored both supporting and validation documents.
Global Archives implemented a step-by-step approach to address issues whose solutions would yield the most recognizable results first.
- By converting legacy and day-forward claims, Crystal Stairs could quickly and accurately verify payment streams during audits. This task was accomplished by first designing a LockBox database that would encompass all key index claim data necessary to enable auditors and Crystal Stairs staff to quickly locate claims for audit. To reduce audit time, the database was organized to allow for temporary users (auditors) to be granted access to specific ranges of claims. This allowed for a reduction of time spent on site and a narrowed allocation of efforts toward the range of claims for audit.
- A data capture utility was designed to recognize the claim form (the company prepared two types of claims) and extract a unique barcode for claim identification. This barcode was then used to make inquiries in the Crystal Stairs claims database. Once a match was validated, all demographics, financial and other accounting data was captured and placed into the meta/index tags of the claim image. Finally, this data could be uploaded into LockBox.
- During the data capture, specific service fee calculations were made and compared against the providers’ entries. Those results were then made available to the Crystal Stairs administrator in the form of a LockBox report that was delivered via spreadsheet. This spreadsheet was then used to assist during the audit phase.
- With approximately 75,000 claims processed a month, efficiency was key. To add to this, a considerable number of these monthly claims needed to be reprinted and made available to the provider. This was done in person at the company’s front office in their main complex. Global Archives converted this manual process to an electronic reprint system. To show that the claim had been paid, Global Archives provided an interface with the third party distribution/check writing contractor and captured the payment details together with the claim, now residing in LockBox, and enabled a print copy to be made while the client waited. This system reduced the client wait time from 3 hours to 10 minutes. Customer satisfaction was greatly improved, to say the least.
- To help automate Parent and Provider qualification, a web-based electronic form folder was created to standardize internal and some state forms. This allowed those forms to be filed in the respective electronic folders along with other supporting documentation and claims. This reduced (still in progress) much of the paperwork. Some documents could not be converted due to State regulations and were required to be manually handwritten, scanned, and imported into their respective LockBox account folder.
- Electronic images with searchable metadata were created through the conversion of Provider 1099 forms and cancellation of checks. These images were then uploaded to LockBox.
Global Archives planned and built a scalable document management system to automate and control all Provider and Parent information and resulting claims and payments as they progressed through the system. Because of the confidential nature of all participant profiles and required controls for financial transaction, the designated service must meet the rigid trust, confidentiality and security requirements of the state. Data governance for Crystal Stairs as instituted by Global Archives is validated under SAS70 guidelines.
“Global Archives partnered with us to identify creative, out-of-the box solutions that are practical, sustainable, and that work within our constrained, highly regulated industry. As a result, we’ve achieved huge efficiencies from Global Archives projects that improve our customer service and our bottom line.” – Ella Pennington, Vice President of Operations, Crystal Stairs, Inc.
Site Audit for Data and Document Storage Systems
Global Archives offers a step-by-step site audit that identifies, challenges, and provides recommendations for business process improvements.
Uncovering Conversion Challenges
- Central or multiple locations?
- Accessibility, organization, portability?
- Costs to share and transfer data?
- Ergonomics, workplace aesthetics?
- Costs of square footage and staff access devoted to storage?
- Requirements for duplication, photocopies and digital copies?
Discovering Business Process Challenges
- Efficiencies of Cloud Services, data redundancies and security
- Efficiencies of staff’s repetitive transactional tasks?
- Efficiencies of client’s information sharing, forms completion?
- Costs of office supplies, disposable and paper goods?
- Security and organization of hard-copy document storage?
- Efficiencies of improved business processing and approvals