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Adult Protective Services cuts backlog by 75 percent


In response to the Feb. 15 article “From X-rays to highways, backlogs affect several state agencies,” I would like to provide additional information regarding Adult Protective Services (APS). In March 2015, APS had an open workload of 12,676 cases requiring review. By February 2016, that caseload was reduced to 4,083 through the use of a private contractor and the implementation of a change management technique, the Four Disciplines of Execution.

It must be noted that the incredible progress made by APS was featured this past weekend in the Arizona Republic as an example of what DCS should do to reduce caseloads. By using a contractor, the Republic reported, the Department of Economic Security was able to direct its staff to handle incoming cases and massively reduce its existing caseload.

Tim Jeffries

Tim Jeffries

We continue to use a contractor to provide APS support in the investigative process, focusing on older open cases. The staff and systems are in place to investigate incoming new cases and to ensure existing clients needs are met prior to their cases being closed.  Our contractor and the Four Disciplines of Execution is imperative to the overall strategy DES employs to reduce caseloads and the amount of time it takes to complete the evaluation and investigation and make appropriate community referrals.

Each year in Arizona, DES receives thousands of reports alleging neglect, abuse, exploitation, and self-neglect of vulnerable adults. During fiscal year 2015, APS received nearly 13,800 reports. During the past five years, the number of APS reports has grown by 79 percent. APS investigators were faced with a crisis that demanded immediate attention and resolution. Gov. Doug Ducey and the Arizona Legislature agreed APS Investigators needed more support. To address this need, $3 million was added to the 2015 budget to manage caseload growth. Similarly, the 2016 budget increased this budget by another $1.2M to handle caseload growth.

APS is laser-focused on better outcomes for vulnerable adults in need of protection and assistance. Arizona’s APS program is one of only a few programs in the nation to have a dedicated unit for financial exploitation, and has been featured as an example of what other states should be doing in this ever-increasing area of crime against the elderly. Significant progress continues to be made as APS is on its way to being the best in the country in caring for one of our most vulnerable populations, and our agency is very proud of this.

Timothy Jeffries is the director of the Arizona Department of Economic Security.

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