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InnovateOhio, OBM Identify Approximately $1 Million in Savings

The Office of Budget and Management (OBM) and InnovateOhio today announced $950,027 in savings to state taxpayers made possible through data analytics applied to state agency spending ledgers. These are actual taxpayer dollars recovered, not just potential savings identified. The total dollar amount of duplicate payments identified totals $1,008,876, leaving $58,849 still in the process of being recovered. Today’s update brings the total number of confirmed duplicate payments identified by InnovateOhio advanced analytics tools to 107 from January 2019 through May 2020 across 27 different agencies, boards and commissions.

The duplicate payments tool was initially announced in November 2019. The initial release is available on the InnovateOhio website.

“When we created InnovateOhio, one of my goals was to elevate technology inside state government to make it more productive and more customer-service friendly," said Lt. Governor Jon Husted. "This is a meaningful example of how we are changing state government for the better.”

In Spring 2019, the Office of Budget and Management (OBM) and InnovateOhio developed software to identify duplicate payments in state government spending – items that Ohio’s traditional accounting protocols could not identify, including payment requests from the same vendor made through separate processing systems. Duplicate payments are common across large scale industry and the public sector. Modern analytics tools allow state systems to detect subtle duplications that escape human review.

“Now more than ever, as we work to restart our economy and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, we must be good stewards of Ohio taxpayer dollars,” said Kimberly Murnieks, OBM Director. “At OBM, we are doing our part to make sure all funds spent by state agencies is checked with this important analytics tool to ensure duplicate payments do not exist. InnovateOhio’s analytics support is continuing to provide significant savings to the state – savings that are critical to ensuring that Ohio can continue to provide services to citizens during these uncertain times.”

In November 2019, InnovateOhio and OBM announced a total of 56 duplicate payments, totaling over $117,702 across 22 different agencies, boards and commissions. OBM repeats this process monthly, working with agencies to review payments identified as potential duplicates. OBM’s current review excludes subsidy payments that are made through agencies such as the Department of Medicaid, which are already governed in most cases through managed care contracts that put the risk on third-party vendors. OBM continues to review the state’s payment processes for additional enhancement or expansions of this analytics tool.

“The benefit to state taxpayers is not limited to the duplicate payments we catch,” continued Murnieks. “Each confirmed duplicate leads to process reviews that help prevent future errors. When we identify a process flaw, we then work to eliminate it completely. This is a new level of continuous improvement in state budgeting that didn’t exist in the past.”