SANTA FE, N.M., (AP) — A new computer system to help determine whether New Mexicans qualify for public assistance programs such as Medicaid and food stamps is being lauded as a model for state government because it is on time and on budget.
A report issued Friday on the Automated System Program and Eligibility Network, or ASPEN, being developed for the Department of Human Services, says it will cost a total of $115 million and should be complete next year.
Auditors said management of the project should be used a model for other large IT projects at state agencies.
The computer network replaces an aging system for determining applicants’ eligibility for public assistance programs. And it will enable people to apply online.
The new system will also provide New Mexicans with more detailed notices that explain budget calculations used to make program decisions that affect them.
“Our new system is an all-around win for New Mexicans and the department,” Human Services Department Secretary Sidonie Squier said in a recent statement about the system upgrade. “It streamlines services, allows applicants to apply for assistance using modern technology, and generates notices in plain language. It also increases employee efficiency, reduces duplication of effort, and eliminates wasteful use of paper.”
Squier said the new system will roll out first in 14 southern counties after being successfully tested and piloted in Espanola during the summer. In November, it is set to go live in northern New Mexico. With the final phase coming on line in Bernalillo County in January.