California seeks to bring hightech to state government

first_img SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Gavin Newsom is looking for a leader interested in “breaking things, and making them better,” who prioritizes “openness” and “simplicity” and can “feed and sustain team energy and enthusiasm.”“While you think long-term, your bias for action ensures you gain traction quickly,” reads the job description for the head of California’s new Office of Digital Innovation.It sounds more like a job advertisement for a Silicon Valley startup than state government — and that’s the point. Newsom wants the $26 million, 50-person office to throw away the old playbook and find ways to be more user-friendly for the state’s 40 million residents when they do such things as seek benefits, start a business or renew a driver’s license.California government has tried to infuse innovation before.The state’s technology department runs a digital innovation academy and an innovation lab, and it issued guidelines to make state websites more usable last year. The Government Operations Agency, which will oversee the new office, already has a director of innovation and accountability. The health and human services agency has its own innovation office.“Only Sacramento can take innovation and make it more bureaucratic,” said Assemblyman Vince Fong, R-Bakersfield, who noted problems persist with the state’s technology, from the Department of Motor Vehicles to a new state accounting system.Even the DMV, which has been plagued by hours-long lines and other hang ups, already has a Newsom-appointed “strike team” focused on improving its operations. The agency is closing its offices statewide for a half-day in July for employee training.Members of the Newsom administration said the new office can bring a fresh perspective to state operations, ideally helping the state run more like a business. They want people to access state services with the ease of ordering a ride, a meal or nearly anything else with the tap of a smartphone.“In your everyday life you have these great interactions with business,” said Mike Wilkening, the governor’s special adviser on innovation and digital services. “They make it as seamless as possible for you to conduct business with them — and the state does not.”While there’s broad agreement that improvement is needed, some critics and supporters alike see potential for the new office to become just another layer of bureaucracy.“It’s going to be interesting to see how they organize those 50 people, how they ensure that they are not being redundant with what the other organizations are doing and how they integrate,” said Teri Takai, a former chief information officer for California who now runs the Center for Digital Government, a 20-year-old national research and advisory organization for best practices in state and local government. She was an adviser to Newsom’s transition team and advocated for the creation of the office.She said other states are initiating similar efforts, though not all with a full department like California is doing. Alaska and New Jersey, for example, recently hired chief innovation officers.Administration officials say the office would complement, not duplicate, existing state programs. An agency could, for example, bring a problem for the office to tackle, or the Newsom administration could request the office look into something specific.“The governor would have no lack of ideas on ways we can improve services to Californians,” said Brian Ferguson, a Newsom spokesman.Once it comes up with an idea, the office would kick back some of the work of making it happen to the state agency that brought the problem or to the California Department of Technology if the solution is one that could improve service statewide, said Amy Tong, the state’s chief information officer.“It’s complementary in the sense that the Department of Technology is still going to be very much focusing on statewide technology initiatives,” Tong said. “Digital innovation would focus more on the front-end planning and discovery work.”Brian Metzker studied the proposal for the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office and said the work the new office will do appears different from other state programs. But he noted its duties will evolve once a director is hired and the office gets up and running.“It will be important for lawmakers to keep an eye on the office to make sure it’s not offering competing or duplicative services as it gets to work,” he said.Fong, the Republican lawmaker, agreed government needs an overhaul, even as he questioned Newsom’s approach.“Tech has changed for the better everything in our daily lives, whether it’s from travel, from booking services that we use in our daily lives or buying groceries,” he said. But, “state government has lagged behind because all they do is create more red tape and bureaucracy.”Beyond the director, Newsom will appoint 19 other employees who will be exempt from civil service. Thirty others will be hired through the normal government process.Of the new office’s $26 million budget, $10 million would go into a fund it could tap to complete its work. The budget in following years would be $14 million. June 26, 2019 AP AP, Posted: June 26, 2019 California seeks to bring high-tech to state government Categories: California News, Local San Diego News, Politics FacebookTwitterlast_img read more

Hearst Establishes Health Division

first_imgThe new auxiliary company will also support two major extensions: Hearst Health Ventures and the Hearst Health Innovation Lab. Combined, the lab and venture fund have $75 million committed to investing in startups and another $75 million set aside for future funding opportunities, according to Hearst.Hearst Health Ventures, steered by managing director Ellen Koskinas, is a new fund created to invest in startup companies focused on health IT solutions and technology-enabled healthcare services. The Hearst Innovation Lab, under the guidance of chief innovation officer Justin Graham, will support internally-developed projects, as well as work with outside clinician-entrepreneurs, rapidly prototyping new product ideas with a team of analysts, developers and data architects. The Hearst healthcare network maintains a strong presence in the clinical, pharmacy, home and hospice care and health insurance markets. The company claims to provide services for more than 75 percent of patients discharged from U.S. hospitals, 20 million patient home visits and more than $3.25 billion prescription claims yearly.This success has helped elevate Hearst Business Media to become the company’s second-biggest moneymaker after the entertainment and syndication group, which includes partnerships with ESPN and A&E Networks. Unlike the changing winds of the magazines and newspaper industry, Hearst can rely on growth prospects in the healthcare sector.“Hearst has been operating in the healthcare information industry since 1980,” says Richard P. Malloch, president of Hearst Business Media, in a release. “Through Hearst Health Ventures and the Innovation Lab, we will advance businesses that provide more scalable and cost-effective solutions for high-quality patient care.” [This article first appeared on FOLIO: sister site min.] Hoping to elevate its presence in the healthcare information marketplace, the Hearst Corporation, which has operated in the sector since 1980, launched Hearst Health, a subsidiary of Hearst Business Media, on Monday.The five healthcare information companies now consolidated under the Hearst Health umbrella include pharmaceutical database publisher First Databank (FDB), Zynx Health, a clinical decision support solutions company, MCG Health (previously Milliman Care Guidelines), which produces best practices for health systems and insurance companies, homecare and hospice market software-as-solutions provider Homecare Homebase and the Web-based Map of Medicine patient care comparison system.“The care guidance we provide is next generation of clinical decision support,” says Gregory Dorn, MD, executive vice president of Hearst Business Media, in a statement. “In addition to best practices, it encompasses efficiency of care and resource planning.” last_img read more

SELECTMEN NEWS Big Issues To Be Discussed At Meeting On Monday December 10

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — The Wilmington Board of Selectmen meets this Monday, December 10, 2018 at Town Hall (Room 9). An Executive Session begins at 6:30pm. The public portion of the meeting begins at 7pm.There are some noteworthy items on the agenda, including:DPW Director Michael Woods, Town Engineer Paul Alunni and Planning Director Valerie Gingrich will discuss the Woburn Street/Lowell Street intersection.Town Manager Jeff Hull will provide an update on the North Wilmington MBTA Commuter Rail Station.Town Manager Jeff Hull will provide an update on the Butters Row Bridge Replacement.Town Manager Jeff Hull will provide the results of the recent Annual Town Meeting Survey.Town Manager Jeff Hull will share good news about a recent award won by the Yentile Farm Recreational Facility.Town Manager Jeff Hull will provide an update on the FY2020 budget process.Town Manager Jeff Hull will provide an update on Russell Disposal’s performance bond.Town Manager Jeff Hull will provide an update on placing AEDs at all town parks.Town Manager Jeff Hull will provide an update on the Fire Department’s fire pumper situation.Town Manager Jeff Hull will announce the appointment of Laura T. deWahl to the Wilmington Conservation Commission.Selectmen will consider the approvals of various licenses for town businesses.The meeting will be telecast live by Wilmington Community Television on WCTV-G — Channel 22 on Comcast and Channel 38 on Verizon.  The meeting will also be streamed on WCTV’s website HERE.Wilmington Apple intends to report on many of the items above – and any other news that comes from the meeting — over the next two weeks. Wilmington Apple sometimes live-tweets the meeting HERE.Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Thank You To Our Sponsor:Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedSELECTMEN NEWS: Selectmen To Discuss Senior Center, Palmer Park, WHS Gym Floor At September 9 MeetingIn “Government”SELECTMEN NOTEBOOK: 6 Things That Happened At This Month’s Selectmen’s MeetingIn “Government”SELECTMEN NEWS: Childhood Cancer Study, Olin, Cook Ave., Recreation Dept. Update On Agenda For Tonight’s MeetingIn “Government”last_img read more

30 goldmine workers killed in Afghanistan landslide

first_imgAt least 30 people were killed when a gold mine collapsed in northeastern Afghanistan on Sunday, officials said, in the latest tragedy to strike the war-torn country.Another seven were injured in the incident in Kohistan district of Badakhshan province, district governor Mohammad Rustam Raghi told AFP.Villagers had dug a 60-metre (200-feet) deep shaft in a river bed to search for gold. They were inside when the walls fell in.It was not clear why the shaft collapsed, but the provincial governor’s spokesman Nik Mohammad Nazari told AFP the miners were not professionals.”The villagers have been involved in this business for decades with no government control over them,” Nazari said.”We have sent a rescue team to the area, but villagers have already started removing bodies from the site.”last_img read more

University Of Houstons Energy Research Park Changes Name Focus

first_img X Listen Share The Energy Research Park is only a few years old but it already has a new name: It’s now the UH Technology Bridge.It’s part of a five-year plan to better align the park with Houston’s growing innovation ecosystem.UH physics professor Seamus “Shay” Curran has successfully used the facilities to commercialize a nanotechnology product he developed: Integricote.Click on the audio above to listen to the interview. center_img 00:00 /03:33 Florian MartinUH physics professor Shay Curran shows off the nanotech coating he has applied to a piece of fence. The coating shields it from environmental influences. To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code:last_img

70 Mayors Reject Trump Food Stamp Proposal Sa

first_img Patrick Semansky 70 Mayors Reject Trump Food Stamp Proposal, Saying It Puts… by NPR News Bobby Allyn 8.22.19 3:22pm The Trump administration’s proposal to push millions of people out of the federal food stamp program would punish some of the country’s neediest, including children, seniors and people with disabilities, according to mayors of 70 American cities who have sent a letter to an administrator for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.Under a new rule proposed in July by the Agriculture Department, more than 3 million people would lose their food assistance. The mayors say the move would also hurt their local and regional economies.The change to SNAP is aimed at plugging what critics say is a loophole that allows states to give benefits to people whose savings and other assets the Trump administration says should make them ineligible for food stamps.Anti-poverty groups view the shift as part of a broader push by the Trump administration to peel people off government assistance. Republicans who back the move say the new rules are needed to curb abuse of federal safety net programs.Through the change, the Trump administration aims to cut spending by some $2.5 billion a year. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has pledged the plan will also preserve “the integrity of the program.” But dozens of mayors counter that shaking up the eligibility requirements will exact a toll on some of the nation’s most vulnerable people.”This proposal will put children’s health and development at risk by removing their access to healthy school meals; and harm our economy by reducing the amount of SNAP dollars available to spur regional and local economic activity,” wrote the city leaders, in a letter sent from the U.S. Conference of Mayors.The mostly Democratic mayors who signed the letter come from around the country, from Fremont, Calif., to Houston and from Edina, Minn., to Philadelphia.”Our nation cannot remain globally competitive if our children do not have enough to eat; if our citizens do not have access to affordable health care; if housing and other basic needs are priced out of reach; and if adults who are willing and able to work cannot find jobs that will help them support their families,” the mayors wrote.The majority of the people who receive SNAP are children, the elderly or people who struggle with a disability. Government statistics show that the average monthly benefit per person is $135 a month.Federal food assistance is a pathway out of desperate circumstances, the mayors argue.”SNAP is not only a critical resource in the fight against hunger and food insecurity, but also lifts people out of poverty,” their letter states.Since the new federal rule has been open to public comment, more than 4,000 people have weighed in on the proposal, with many strongly opposing the Trump administration’s move.”It’s horrifying to think that millions of people will not have food stamps! I encourage the American government to act for the people that need a hand up from desperate situations,” wrote Kala Nyx.”I am a 55 year old white male from rural Texas,” wrote Johnny Dotson, who said he has known many families who have depended on SNAP. “You should be ashamed of yourselves if you believe it is ok to make children go hungry for ANY reason. You may think there will be so few children negatively affected it would be worth the cost, but you are wrong.”Others, like Joal Devendorf, embraced the Trump administration’s proposed move.”We should close loopholes such as the SNAP loophole. Temporary Assistance is fine; ongoing dependence is not,” he wrote.The mayors, meanwhile, are fretting about how the overhaul to food assistance will impact their regions’ local economies, saying those who receive benefits spend more money in their communities, as part of a “multiplier effect” that boosts overall economic activity, including job creation.Citing the USDA’s own statistics, the mayors wrote, “during times of economic downturn, every additional $5 dollars in SNAP benefits generates up to $9 dollars of economic activity.”The Agriculture Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The department can move forward with the new rule in about a month, after the 60-day public comment period ends on Sept. 23.Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.last_img read more