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System Update

In 2000, the Office of the Attorney General's (OAG) Crime Victims' Compensation Program (CVC) was one of the innovative programs that moved to a paperless claims processing system. Moving from a voluminous paper file system to a "virtual" file system made claims processing a more efficient process. Our paperless system provided CVC staff shared file access so that multiple tasks on a claim could be completed at the same time. The new system also reduced incidences of misfiled documents and provided easy access for CVC program specialists to determine the status of a claim document or bill payment. As a side benefit, the virtual system reduced file storage and archiving needs. Anyone who has boxed up files for storage or had to deal with the paper cuts, backaches and dust associated with archiving quickly recognized and appreciated the new paperless system.

Many of you were involved with victim services during our transition to the paperless claims processing system. As you may recall, implementing it required time and a great deal of patience from everyone. CVC staff tirelessly worked to learn the new system, and their efforts helped make claims processing more efficient and effective for survivors and their families.

It's hard for many of us to believe that we've been on the paperless system now for more than 12 years. Unfortunately, aging infrastructure and architecture as well as unsupported software is pushing this system dangerously close to failure. To serve you and crime victims for many years to come, we have decided to retire our legacy paperless file system and move to a more robust, dynamic system. We respectfully ask for your patience and support over the next several months as we transition to the improved system.

The project to update our claims processing system is well on its way. In 2011, CVC and the OAG Information Technology Support Division (ITS) began to jointly develop business and software requirements in order to implement a content management system to replace our aged claims processing system. IT and CVC managers determined that the project would be done in three phases:

  • Phase I - Replacing the current system, which would include the imaging and workflow solution and placing the CVC program back into a supported software position
  • Phase II - Replacing the aged CVC mainframe computer system, which is the current system of record that interacts with other state agency systems.
  • Phase III - Opening a web portal to give external partners access to the system. Plans are for this to include advocates, service providers and victims.

From awarding a contract to a vendor to going live, the project's initial phase was completed in less than 13 months. This included migration of existing data, movement to a cloud solution, and creation of a new system.

Now that we have converted to the new system, we have encountered several challenges as we move forward:

  • As we worked on the design and modeling of the new system, some production staff were pulled away from claims processing. All staff is now back doing their regular responsibilities.
  • CVC staff must become as familiar with the new system as they were with the older system. While this improves every day, it will take some time for CVC staff to gain experience and be comfortable with the new system.
  • We have experienced a "break in" period with the new system as we resolve some technical issues.

The challenges noted above have all contributed to a slowing of claims processing over the past few months which I am sure many of you have seen. We expect this to change as we improve with the new system. We ask for your patience as we strategically place the CVC program in a position to add even more state-of-the-art improvements. With the work done thus far, we have set the stage to add future capabilities such as:

  • Continuing the controlled access for service providers and advocates but expanding the available information;
  • Allowing a victim to use a secure website that allows them to see their claim status, update their address and phone number, or ask questions in a chat room; and
  • Communicating with victims via email, text or automated phone calls. Upon application, a victim could elect to receive automated notification instead of mailed notifications.

We are confident our new claims processing system will yield the same efficient and effective results that you have come to expect from the CVC program. As always, if you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. Thank you for what you do every day to assist crime victims in Texas.

In this issue:

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week
2011 Crime Victim Services Conference
Helping Keep the Grantee Informed
CVSD Regional Coordinators
Kudos
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www.oag.state.tx.us